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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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fantasy

Interview: Angry Robot Books

Jhonen Vasquez (http://www.questionsleep.com/)

Some publishers think technological changes in the way we read may herald the end of books.  Lee Harris, editor of “SF, F and WTF?!” publishers Angry Robot Books (home to books by Dan Abnett, Andy Remic, Chuck Wendig and a host of others – my title tip is The World House by Guy Adams) says not.  In this interview he explains why…

How and when did Angry Robot Books get started?
Angry Robot was founded by Marc Gascoigne in the summer of 2008 as part of HarperCollins. We published our first titles in the UK and Australia in July 2009 and in the US and Canada in September 2010.

What is the robot so upset about?
He’s not upset. He’s angry. Big difference. Pray you never find out why…

Continue reading “Interview: Angry Robot Books”

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Poisonous Mushrooms

Cats = Comedy

Lol. This post isn’t really about poisonous mushrooms, that was a cunning ruse to get you attention. It’s really about book 9 and why I’ve been finding it hard to write. I believe it’s a question of genre.

With specific genres, plots tend to come fairly easily once I have a character in mind.  The story grows up around the characterisation and dialogue – probably because those are the bits I like playing with most.  To give you a for instance, when I was doing fantasy in May I was given two character suggestions and knew immediately what I was going to do with them, so I sat and wrote it. 

Humour is not a very specific genre, and to be honest I don’t have a specific character in mind.  My vague plan was to write about the experiences of recent graduates living in the city in a sort of bubbly, chick lit way – Sex and the City but with real people who have real relationships, money issues, terrible flats, identity crises, whatever.  Not just any old real people, but real Scottish people. 

Continue reading “Poisonous Mushrooms”

Not-Quite-Half-Way Evaluation

Last night at around 11.15pm I decided that it was time to call it quits on book five and get myself some sleep.  I battered out a few paragraphs to remind myself what I wanted the last couple of chapters to entail, and set about organising my packed lunch for work.  Tuna salad, for those who are nosey about such things…

The word count stands at 30323, and I think it’ll end end up around 36,000 by the time the first draft is finished.  This means that overall this year, I’ve written 165,585 words of fiction across 151 days.  That averages out at 1096.6 words per day, although there have been days when I haven’t written anything at all, and a few when I’ve done 10k in one go.  Averages, dear reader, are relative.

Continue reading “Not-Quite-Half-Way Evaluation”

#WIP: Chapter Three

It’s pretty rare that a human has the courage to face a monster as fearsome as a dragon.  Bearing that in mind, it’s almost unthinkable that a mere sheep might be brave enough to do it.  In actual fact, this was very probably the first time in the history of everything.  So naturally there had to be a meeting.

Continue reading “#WIP: Chapter Three”

Chapter One

If you click below, you can listen to me reading chapter One of book 5, which you may remember is about a wizard sheep called Ovid.  And a small boy called Eric.  And an as-yet unnamed dragon.

I wanted to do the whole first chapter but am apparently limited to 5 minutes, but it’ll give you the general idea.

Let it… penetrate.

Writing Style

This week I’m answering questions from Ian Collings, a writer based in Shropshire who blogs at Take One Step Back and tweets as @ibc4

Of the twelve books you’re writing which falls into your natural writing style the most? Which do you find the easiest to pick up?

My natural style tends towards the silly, often by accident, and even though I haven’t written a kids’ book yet, I’ve harboured ambitions to be a children’s author for about ten years… Essentially I forsee July’s book as being the best – or at least the most enjoyable to do!  That or fantasy, actually.  I’ve written a bunch of short stories that fall across both of those fields and have probably read a lot more of those than any other type of book.

I would love to strike a balance between well written, engrossing but often humorous fantasy written by Neil Gaiman / China Mieville and the silliness of Spike Milligan (whose picture book for little kids, Sir Nobonk, is one of my favourite books ever), with an element of the dark or unexpected twists that you get in Roald Dahl.  And I think May and July’s fantasy and kids’ books are the ones where I’ll be able to give that a proper try.

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