I’ve been a bit more blog-active this month, haven’t I? Only just, though.
I have a lot going on right now. I managed to write a short story last week, ‘Second Amendment,’ which you can read here. I’ll talk more about it below.
Almost Surely (Proofing and Editing)
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but my next release is entitled ‘Almost Surely’ and my target for publication is November 2018. The exact date; I am yet to decide or figure out, but I’ll announce it soon, I’m sure.
The cover is done. I drew and designed it, like I did with The Surrogate. It’s different. I like it a lot, and it reflects the setting and feels of the novel perfectly. After a month (or so) of faffing about with alternate design ideas, I figured out how to do what I wanted. The result is that it’s almost exactly what I always intended it to be.
The rear cover is 90% done. The only thing left to finish here is the synopsis, which is much harder than you’d expect. This is what’s difficult about weird fiction, how do you explain it to people?
I’m elbow-deep* into my edit process right now. 102/380 pages complete, as of writing this. I’m anticipating that the second half of the book will need less work than the first half, but who knows, right?
I’m aiming to finish this ‘overhaul edit’ by the end of March. The purpose here is to clean up the language, prose, grammar, names, places, facts, etc. It’s very labour intensive, hence why I am taking my time with it. After this is complete, I’ll format it for Kindle (which’ll take a day or so) and then I’ll send it over to my devices so that I can read it through and make notes on how to improve it further.
This ‘Kindle edit’ is different than the ‘overhaul edit.’ I don’t know how other writers work, but for me; reading a Word/Libre Office document on my laptop is very different to reading something on a Kindle. The Kindle document feels more professional. This is where I do my best proofreading. I assume it’s because I’m tuned to expect a better quality experience here, than I would in a .doc or email, therefore; it makes noticing mistakes easier. I’ll make notes as I read, and then I’ll make any changes to the PC documents once done.
I’ll then repeat the process once or twice further.
Then; once I’m happy with the manuscript (which I hope will be the beginning of June, or thereabouts) I’ll upload it to the printers, and get a few proofs made. These are physical copies of the book, which are incredibly close to, if not fully reader-ready. I’ll give these to a few people so that they can read it, and give feedback. Fresh eyes always pick up on bits I invariably overlook. For example; my Mum found a spelling mistake in The Surrogate, one I did not see during my proofing phase. It’s present in the early printed copies (and is kinda funny, too) but Kindle readers never saw it, because I made the edits before it was released. That’s just the nature of writing though, isn’t it? I’m sure you’ve read a book or two which had a spelling mistake here and there. To only have one? Damn, son, that’s not bad. It’s disappointing, but I can live with it.
Once I’ve received feedback on these proof copies; I’ll make further changes, (This’ll be September, hopefully) and get a second batch of proofs printed if needs be, and finalise the novel, ready for publication in November.
Like I said, this is very labour-intensive. But I’m too skint to afford an editor, what can you do?
I actually kinda enjoy this, though. *shrugs*
*Censorship… t’sh, hmph… Here’s a song, which I interpret as comparing the act of ‘fisting’ to progression, or ‘pushing boundaries.’ Desensitising yourself to horrible things simply by exposing yourself to them. Hence why I refer to progress as being ‘knuckle-deep,’ or ‘finger-deep,’ or ‘elbow-deep.’ It’s reference to this:
At a Tool show, back in 2006, I heard a woman say ‘Stinkfist is my song,’ when she was asked what her favourite track of the show was. It still brings a smile to my face, to think of it. She probably didn’t know the connotations. ha ha.
Future Writing Projects
‘Almost Surely’ editing aside, I’m planning a few new projects.
The first project is a novel, set sometime in the late 1980’s (I haven’t pinpointed the exact timeframe I want to go with just yet), but I know it’ll take place in the United States, around Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada. I’ve had the basic premise for a good year or two, but I felt that there was something missing whenever I tried fleshing out the story. I know what it was now, but it means that I have to do some further research before I can commit ideas to paper.
The other project, which I’ll probably write next, is ‘Grindhouse’ in style. By that, I mean; rude, disgusting, funny, but full of heart. Think Machete / Hobo with a Shotgun, in both style and production, but with heavy leanings towards the ‘dark comedy’ of a BBC show like The League of Gentlemen. I have a few scene ideas kicking about in my head, and I’m considering doing something very different with the ending, but; we’ll see how things pan out.
The third project will be an overhaul of a novel I wrote in 2014/2015. I’ll likely do this while researching for the project above. In reading Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, (and remembering what I loved about 1Q84) I figured out what was missing. Madness. In editing, and re-editing the novel a few years back; I removed any and all sense of madness from it, just to make it more palatable and accessible. This was a mistake. My logic was; ‘that’ll make more sense if I take this out, or delete this scene,’ and to an extent; yes it did. But I’ve had a nagging feeling about a story arch within the book ever since. My task, later in the year, will be to reintroduce the madness and expand on everything I have since restricted. This leads me directly into this:
I know my schedule for the next three years. Next up is ‘Amost Surely,’ sometime in November, this year.
1, Untitled Novella; April/May 2019. This is going to be a very experimental release for me. It is written, it has a title, and the cover is done, too. I’m editing it (whenever I am not editing AS) currently. I’m presenting it in the same way that movie theatres would present a double-feature, back in the day, only; I’m doing a ‘triple-feature.’ There are three stories; one short length, (Sci-Fi) one medium length, (Horror!) and one novella-length. The latter, which’ll serve as ‘The Feature Presentation’ and title of the book, and is a dark comedy. It’s disgusting and very brutal in places, but (I like to think) funny throughout. It’s completely unlike The Surrogate or Almost Surely, but I like it. There’s a moral to it, but it sits behind the action and isn’t really present until the last line of the book. I’ll admit; I’m excited for people to read it, but I know that it’ll be divisive.
2, Untitled Novel. This’ll be more in line with ‘The Surrogate’ and ‘Almost Surely’ in terms of style and message delivery. I’ve written it already, and it’s in a far better state than Almost Surely was, when I began the overhaul last month. It’s set in the Summer of 1989 and is very personal to me. This, I’ll likely release in Spring 2019 or 2020. I’m undecided, right now. I am, however, going to edit it in June this year, whilst people are proofing Almost Surely. I’ve begun work on the cover already. It does not have a title, though. It previously had two working titles; ‘Never Change,’ and ‘…Never Say Die,’ but the final product will be named differently. I simply don’t know what it’ll be, right now.
I’m still reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I’m enjoying the book immensely, don’t get me wrong, but honestly; I’m finding it difficult to set time aside. I’m so focused on my editing that I do not have the cognitive capacity to juggle the two. I began reading Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ in December, but I haven’t touched it since, either. Same thing.
I have read a couple of graphic novels, though; Sex Criminals vol. 1 and vol. 2. They’re hilarious and original. Akira Vol. 1, which was pretty good. I have Vol. 2 sitting on my desk, staring at me, but it’s the same as the books I listed above; I can’t juggle it with my writing commitments.
I did begin (for the fifth time) listening to the audiobook of Stephen King’s ‘The Stand.’ I’ve seen the TV movie multiple times, and have fond memories of mocking the M-O-O-N guy (I can’t remember his name) with friends, at school. It was a good, if somewhat dated movie, and I know the story. I managed 14 hours, or thereabouts. I don’t know whether it’s the narrator or the relentlessness of the writing that put me off, but I couldn’t continue. I hated it. So much so that I donated the book (and a couple of other King books that I have no intention of reading) to the library at work. Let some other poor sod slog through it, eh?
The Orville reminds me of the old-school Star Trek, but with more humour. The stories are good too. In the second or third episode; one of the crew members’ partners lays an egg. They are a single-sex race (male) but the child is born a female. It turns out that females are born, but are given a sex change early on, in their culture, the ideology suggesting that males are the more dominant gender. Legal battle ensues. It was a fascinating allegory. It’s written by Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. I’m not much of a fan of Family Guy anymore, but this show surprised me. If you get the chance; please check it out. It’s intelligent and deserves an audience.
I haven’t seen Black Panther yet. There’s a good reason for this, but I won’t go into it right now.
The Winter Olympics
That shit was fun, right? I loved the Slopestyle events particularly. Red Gerard was a beast. I ‘called’ his Gold medal in the heats, simply because he was hitting obstacles that none of the other riders were attempting.
There were a few anti-doping violations, too, which I always find fascinating.
There was a big kerfuffle over the Russian Olympics team being banned from the Summer games in 2016, which many do not understand the intricacies of. If you get the time, watch ‘Icarus,’ it’s a documentary about a guy (Bryan Fogle) who attempts to cheat the system in cycling, but ‘cycling’ on an off performance enhancers, with the aid of a Russian man named Grigory Rodchenkov, who just so happens to be the former director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory. Then; the Olympic scandal occurs and shit really kicks off.
This documentary is Oscar-nominated, and is mind-fuckingly incredible.
These are the songs that got me through the month. As you can tell, I was enjoying funk and 70’s-era R’n’B, this month.
1, Jill Scott – Bedda at home
2, Kid Cudi – Heart of a Lion (Kid Cudi Theme Music)
3, The Weeknd, Kenrick Lemar – Pray For Me
4, Childish Gambino – Zombies
5, Madvillain – Figaro
6, Vince Staples – BagBak
7, Shuggie Otis – Ice Cold Daydream
8, Gil Scott-Heron – I’ll Take Care of You
9, Donald Byrd – Love’s So Far Away
10, Bootsy Collins ft Kali Uchis – Work My While
11, Parliament – Placebo Syndrome
12, Donald Byrd – (Fallin’ Like) Dominoes
13, Snoh Alegra – In Your River
14, Michael Jackson – Give In To Me
15, Supertramp – Crime of the Century
16, Buck 65 – Riverbed Part 2
17, DJ Shadow – Stem (Cops’n’Robbers)
18, Ed Sheeran – Eraser
19, Save Ferris – Goodbye
The story is based on a thought that has been bugging me for years: The Second Amendment insists that American citizens have the right to bear arms (i.e. own a gun) so that they can stand up and defend themselves against an oppressive government. The amendment/idea (in theory) is a good one, but it’s only (really) used as a means to keep guns. What would happen if the populous actually stood up for themselves? Would the US government make changes to this amendment, so they could not do it again? That would get guns out of hands, quickly.
Long post, sorry about that.
I’m not actually sorry.
Take care of yourselves, the rest can do it for themselves.
Much love x