writing

Science Fiction, an alien language

I’m two thirds the way through my Camp Nano science fiction novel and have just passed my nano goal of 50k words, so I’ve officially ‘won’ although the book isn’t yet finished.  I’m aiming to get it to around 75k or thereabouts.

I’m doing two things in this book that I’ve never done before and it’s both interesting and good discipline.  I like to challenge myself and see how far I can achieve something.

I’m doing this book from 3rd person POV but, unlike my preferred style, I’m not doing it as omnipresent.  The story is told in 3rd person but only from one character’s POV.  I like 3rd omni but this book just demanded it be in one character’s POV, so who am I to argue with my muse?

This makes it slower to write and I’m finding, as I did when I wrote in 1st person for the first time for Floxham Island, that the book is growing a little slower and I’m having to go deeper into my main character’s personality.  This is good practice in character development.  I can’t hop POV to ‘pad it out’ any more, I have to let this main character lead the story all the way through.

I’m also inventing an alien language for this book, which is something I never imagined I would ever do.  I must admit, when it became obvious that this was necessary for the story, I was dumbfounded and scared.  The only other person I know of who has done this is Tolkien and he was a language expert and spent ten years building his languages.  I’m not prepared to spend that long, so I had to find a quicker way to do it.

Without boring you with the minutiae of building a language, what I did first was to decide upon my verb conjugations and tenses.  I copied the Spanish language for this, inasmuch as I decided to have three standard verb endings – AN, AKSI and IEL.  I then decided how many tenses I was going to have, and I chose just 3, present, past and future and then worked out how to change the endings for each conjugation.  It was just a case then of inventing the verbs, making sure they had one of my three chosen endings and giving them the appropriate conjugation for the tense in which they are used.  I toyed with the idea of having a preterit tense, but for simplification I decided to use the full, unconjugated verb for the preterit.

After that, with nouns, pronouns etc, I just invented them and made sure the language has a common sound that runs through it.  I also decided upon a rule for pluralisation, which in this case is achieved by adding ISI at the end of the noun.  I’m not bothering with silent letters or anything like that, I’ve done mine so it is pronounced as it’s written, which will make it easier for the reader to follow.

I wasn’t sure about the correct way to display this alien language with its translation and I worried about it for a while, until asking around and settling on having the alien language in italics, with the translation directly after.  I feel this is likely to be the easiest way for the reader to follow and understand it.

There isn’t a lot of the new language in the book, just short snippets of conversation here and there between the three characters who speak it, so it shouldn’t be an overload.  I’ll be interested to see how the book is received and whether people like the language or not.  Have you ever invented a new language?  I’d be interested in hearing how you approached it.

This book should be out in the new year 2014, hopefully February.

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Authors, I hate you

Yes, you read that right, I do hate you, 99.9% of you.

You are so damned competitive that not once will you ever willingly give help to another author unless there’s something in it for you.

So many times I’ve asked for help and seldom received it and y0u sit there with a smug grin on your horsey face and think you’re better than me.  Well you know what?  When I’m rich and famous my memory will be awesomely accurate and I’ll remember these days and will have great pleasure in sitting on the Jimmy Kimmel show and yelling “FUCK YOU.”

Don’t y0u dare ask me for help, don’t you dare.

Rant over.

PS – JL Stratton and Brian Bigelow, this does not apply to you guys.  You’re awesome.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I fail to see why authors have to be so obstructive when faced with another author asking for help or advice.  It’s not as if there’s only room for a certain number of books ‘out there.’  It’s not just me either, I’ve spoken with quite a few other authors who have experienced this same void of help when they’ve been struggling.

I’m far too long in the tooth to be patient about this now so I’m going to do what I always do; play the same game as everyone else but do it ten times better.  Any author apart from the two wonderful guys mentioned above who dares ask me for help, will just get the single finger.

Freebie now available here

I have finally found out how to get my freebie downloadable right here from my site and am delighted to be able to let everyone know that you can now download The Lilean Chronicles: Book One ~ Redemption, from the widget in the sidebar.

I have the epub file for you and if anyone wants a different file type, let me know and I’ll arrange it.

New Promo Video – Acts of Life

I’ve made a little promotional video for my latest novel, Acts of Life.  I found this great online place called Stupeflix and the whole process is so easy and quick, much less farting about than Windows Movie Maker.  You can choose from their large music collection and the site automatically makes the music fade at the end of your video.  Plans start from as little as $5 per month and I think it’s worth it if you like doing videos to promo your books.  I’ve been wanting to update the videos I did for The Lilean Chronicles but the thought of faffing around with Windows Movie Maker again has put me off.  Now I shall be doing them within days at Stupeflix. Here’s the video, I hope you enjoy it.

 

Going Camping?

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I’m going to be doing Camp Nano next month.  After successfully completed last November’s novel in twenty days, I’m fired up and ready for Camp.

I’ve had what I’ve called ‘my big quest’ novel in the wings for months now, and Camp Nano is the perfect time to devote my attention to it.  As I have, up to now anyway, done series’, stand alones have taken a back seat so the Nanos are the obvious times to do them.

This novel will be another space opera, of course, but it’s also a tale of global strife, inter galactic intrigue and all consuming love.

2 Day Booklover’s Bash

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It’s that time of the week again; time for the 2 Day Virtual Ebook Fair and Booklover’s Bash.

This facebook event is great for readers and lovers of all book genres.

Read excerpts, chat with authors and have fun.

I’ll be there with my space opera, Floxham Island and would love some support and chat with you all.

Here’s the link to the event.

The Point of Giving Up

Today I realised something painful and distressing, something I don’t want to admit to but something I have to face sooner or later.  People don’t like my writing and they just aren’t interested in even taking a look.

This hurts me in many ways, which I won’t go into to save you thinking (as you naturally would) that this is a sob story.  Suffice to say that I feel deflated and disheartened to the point that I’m thinking of giving up writing altogether.

People just refuse to buy my books and they won’t even come here to the blog and read the free excerpts and free short stories I have here.  I check the stats and can see how many visit and click so I know what I’m saying is true.

What I don’t know is whether this is because the market is so over saturated with indie published books that there’s too much choice, or whether it just because my work is shit.  And, it’s no use asking you because you never read my stuff so how would you know if it’s shit or not?

The only thing I can say is that deep in my heart I didn’t start writing to make money.  I started writing in June 2011 because one night, as I sat at the computer, something overwhelmed me and I began to write.  8 hours later, at 4am I dragged myself away from the computer to bed and knew I had the beginnings of a whole book at last.  Having wanted to write a book since I was a kid, here I was approaching 50 and finally I was writing a book.  I write because my soul demands that I write.  I write because there is something or someone standing beside me, telling me their story and telling me that I’m the one they’ve chosen to tell it to the world.  I write because it’s the only way to get my voice heard and yes, I do have a voice that has been screaming to get out for fifty years.

So should I give up or continue?  I don’t know.  Maybe I should just write and save everything to a disc or a memory stick and ask for it to be buried with me when I die, or kill myself, whichever is sooner.  Maybe I should stop.  One thing is for sure, I’m not giving everything away for free.  If I’m not worthy of a few pennies of your money, you’re not worthy of weeks of my time and energy.  If I write and no one sees what I write, the universal consciousness will know I’ve written and my words will be a part of the flow of the universe, whether heard or unheard by these creatures who were, so recently, grunting apes.

I read someone the other week who was also contemplating giving up, for similar reasons, and one thing they said stuck in my mind.  They said “you disappoint me greatly, all of you.  You stand with hands open when in need but turn your backs when in plenty.  You are so consumed by greed that you cannot even open your mouth and offer genuine encouragement to someone who is doing something that you cannot.”  I don’t know whether I’d go quite that far, but he’s got a point..!

The book market is over saturated with books, thanks to the indie publishing revolution, and much of it is tripe.  Those works that are good get lost amongst the trash, not because they are not worthy but because they are buried in rubbish and people are tired of wading through the excrement of uneducated minds to find those words that inspire and set their imaginations aflame.

I’m hoping the market crashes, and soon.  Maybe then a few brave souls will find my work and read it.

Virtual E-Book Fair

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Have you attended the Virtual Ebook Fair? If not, what are you waiting for? This event is taking the Internet by storm. In just a few months it’s become a favorite hang out for readers and authors alike as they mingle and chat.  Started as part of bestselling author, Tammie Clarke Gibbs’ launch for her latest release, SWORN TO SECRECY, a time-travel  romance, the Virtual Ebook Fair quickly became an event everyone is looking forward to.

Traditional book fairs have always been a favorite for booklovers, now you can attend one and meet new and new to you authors as well as some of your favorites without spending for admission fees and gas to get to the event and while there’s nothing that can take the place of meeting authors in person there are many benefits to attending in your pjs from the comfort of your own home.

Originally, a one-day Saturday event, the Virtual Ebook Fair is now held over two days beginning each week on Friday and running through Saturday at 10 pm est.

Each author has their own booth, and some have more than one where they share a short excerpt from their ebooks/books and then give you a link where you can read more or buy the book and visit their website/blogs. In addition to the excerpts, many share funny accounts of the writing process and interact with visitors in a fun way.

You can enter to win giveaway e-books by subscribing to the brand-new  Reader’s Rock emagazine that will launch in June. The subscription is currently free and gives you one entry for each week’s giveaways. You only have to register once.  In addition, authors often give out coupons for free e-books or run one or two-day  sales on their e-books.

If you really love to read, you’ll love this event, and it just gets better and better. Growing by leaps and bounds, it promises to continue to be one of the hottest destinations for booklovers around. What are you waiting for JOIN the event today?!

Blog – http://www.virtualebookfair.com

Blog – http://www.readersrockmagazine.com

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/VirtualEbookFair

Event Page Link for this weekend: May 31- June 1: https://www.facebook.com/events/381254251993089/

Acts of Life – new space opera adventure coming soon

I have a new page here, all about my new novel, Acts of Life which will be available mid June.  The big edits have now been completed and there are just a few bits and bobs to check before it can be formatted, ready for upload.  Meanwhile, my cover art genius, JL Stratton is working on the cover.  All will be revealed in time.

This is the novel I wrote in twenty days during NaNoWriMo, November 2012.

Click here to read about Acts of Life, starring Jake Elloway.

The Big Editing Services Scam

This morning I decided to do a little fun research about the cost of hiring an editor.  Now this is in no way a scientifically based study, I googled and picked one at random, to check out her rates and qualifications.

She charges £17 – £22 per 1000 words.  Multiply that by the number of words in your novel and you’ll get a final cost.  Multiply this final cost by how many books you write per year and you’ll get a yearly cost.

She has some qualifications (allegedly).  A PhD in English Lit, BA in English and an MPhil in medieval studies.  All good qualifications, although I fail to see how a degree in medieval studies makes her qualified to comment on my space operas..!

The job of editor is multi layered.  They have to find your structural errors – spelling, punctuation, grammar, tense, continuity errors, passive voice and all the other structural mistakes we all make when we write.  On top of that, they give their opinions on the other, more abstract areas of your writing, which generally consists of comments about your characters, the environments, situations and the action within the story; whether they like it or not is basically what this part of the job means.  Okay that is simplifying it somewhat, but in essence that what it is.

The structural errors are things we can all learn to correct ourselves.  We don’t need an editor to find our spelling mistakes, wrong tenses, bad punctuation (or none at all), and faulty grammar.  You can google and learn how to punctuate your dialogue correctly, you can learn about the correct use of tenses and you can easily brush up on your grammar.  There are millions upon millions of articles about passive voice versus active voice and it doesn’t take long to find out what a dangling modifier is nor how many adverbs are too many adverbs.

You don’t need to pay someone to do this for you.  You can do it yourself easily, by researching and buying a few books on writing basics. If you pay someone to do this stuff for you, you are either too lazy to do it yourself or you have far more money than sense.  Good for you, whatever blows your skirt up.  Most of us don’t have that kind of money and we’re made to feel unworthy as writers for not shelling out hundreds and thousands of pounds to have someone do it for us.  I once had a gal on facebook tell me she charged “up to 1500” for editing.  Although she didn’t say whether that was pounds or dollars, it’s still a lot.  When I told her I couldn’t afford it, she then posted on her page, naming me by name, that I obviously didn’t value my own work highly enough and that if I did, I would pay.  Those who know me well enough won’t need me to explain how I reacted to that..!

As for the more abstract areas of writing, this is where I have the biggest problem with editors.  No matter what qualifications you have, your opinion as to my characters’ depth (or lack thereof), my story arc, the realism of my narrative or the enjoyment to be gained from reading my work is of no more value than anyone else’s.  This is not something that a degree in English can teach, it is felt by each individual reader.  Some will like it, others will not.

All authors out there feeling bad because they can’t afford an editor, stop feeling bad.  Buy books on punctuation and grammar.  Research the internet about these basic building blocks of writing, all the info is there by the truck load for you to read.  Once you’ve corrected the spellings, punctuation and so on, get family and friends to read it and ask them intelligent questions.  Are the characters believable? Are any characters superfluous to the story? Does the story flow? Are the environments realistic enough?  Is the action right for the story?  Their answers to theses type of questions, rather than just “did you like it?”  will tell you what (if anything) needs to be tweaked, added or taken away.

This gal may be very good at her job, she may be a total fraud.  The thing is, you could be paying her thousands of pounds for a job you can do yourself, with a little time devoted to learning the basics.  People think that because someone calls themselves an editor, that what they say about your book is gospel and you’ll be bound to fail if you don’t apply their recommendations.  This is bollocks.  All they do is give their opinion, which is no more valid than anyone else’s.

Don’t shell out your life savings or remortgage your condo to hire someone to do something you can do yourself.