- Shadows & Ink: Ed's Weekly Newsletter
- Always together with you
Always together with you
Shadows & Ink 2024-01-28
In case you haven’t got it, Marshall 4 is in the UK’s Kindle Daily Deal today:
Such a baffling world where the music of arch space rock pioneers Spiritualized is used on the adverts for the National Lottery. I suspect J Spaceman, as he was known in his Spacemen 3 days, is getting a lottery win of cash for that. Maybe not the full six balls, but a five balls and a bonus.
(Reminds me of the very first ever draw in the mid-90s – a guy in my class at school got 5 balls and a bonus. The next week, he would’ve won £500k, but because it was so over-subscribed that week, he won £550. I think!)
My goal was to finish the draft and finish the draft I did. On Thursday! Which is earlier than I expected. Some edits on Friday, three new chapters and bingo bongo it’s done.
Slightly concern that the book is running a wee bit short at the moment, but I could see when I went into a chapter to edit something that there’s probably plenty of scope for expanding it when I come to edit it in a few weeks’ time, so it’ll end up around the same length.
One of the biggest tricks I’ve learned in how to speed up writing is to not get bogged down in fixing errors as they happen. For example, I’d written a few chapters in this book set in Innerwick, a village inland from Dunbar in East Lothian, which isn’t far from the coastal Borders area, AKA Berwickshire (though neither Berwick-upon-Tweed nor North Berwick are in it, and there was a North Berwickshire until East Lothian was created – boring, I know!). But I wanted to bring to life the area that’s actually in the Borders, so I decided to shift those chapters to Reston, which is where my dogs came from and where they go into kennels when I’m away. But I decided this about 2/3 of the way through, after I’d written the chapters, so I made a note in my actions log to fix that, then any references to it in that final 1/3 were made as if I’d made the changes. I went back in and fixed them – there’s only usually a paragraph at most of set up, then it’s inside someone’s house or whatever, so it’s weirdly a minimal fix. Sounds confusing and it would be if you somehow hacked my computer and read the file on Thursday, but I got to the end and Saturday morning’s file would be (mostly) fine and consistent. Always good to have a solid read-edit after making all those changes as continuity can get very very messy.
And I don’t recommend doing that if your book needs open heart surgery, as in the problems are manifold. Then it’s best to step back, figure out how to fix them, then make the changes there and then. Then probably read it all back before you plough on with the rest of it. I’ve had to do this a few times, though TOUCH WOOD not for a while now.
Note: I add these writing tips in the case it might help someone else think of their own process differently, whether that’s in writing or just in general. Hopefully they’re interesting!
Anyway, I’ve got nice feeling of relief there, until I get my teeth kicked out in the editing... It left me a chance to do some garden stuff yesterday, shifting some benches, tables, boulders and smaller stones around, but it’s neater. I’m probably going to plant up some beds, but that’s a lot of work and I need a few weeks of better weather rather than a day. Bring on Spring!
Okay, so it’s a different kind of work now. Picking up little bits and bobs in the space between sending the book off and getting the edits back. I’ve got a few chapters to edit of something, which I’ve been doing this morning, then I want to rework and edit the outline for OPERATION HIGH CONCEPT. Maybe even craft a few chapters of that to make sure I get the different voices of both characters nailed down. It’s all go, but it’s all good!
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last fortnight reading rather than other stuff. I seem to flit between different hobbies, which is very me. Anyway, I finished reading “The Trouble With Peace” by Joe Abercrombie, the second of his Age of Madness trilogy. I’m not really a fan of fantasy novels, but these are something else entirely. He’s one of few writers who I’m just absolutely blown away by on multiple levels. He writes scenes and chapters in a very similar way to me – no exposition or info dumps, just all dramatic action. But his overall story arcs are breathtaking, weaving together a multitude of POV characters into a coherent and satisfying story, with big culmination points which could literally go in any direction. I’m romping through the final volume, then I’ve got two short story collections to read and I’ll be all done with his work. But it won’t be too long before I re-ready the whole nine-book (plus short stories) saga again.
Anyway, enough about me – have fun this week!