So, I logged out of Facebook and Twitter a week ago, and it feels great. I’m not going back for a while. If you see this post, because it flashed up on one of these sites, it’s because I sent it there. I’m not online.
I finished Almost Surely. I got three ‘proof’ copies printed so that my beta readers could read the story, and highlight any issues they might stumble across. Already, I’ve adjusted the formatting, and I’ve received my first batch of feedback (thanks mum!). I’m well on my way to having the final (FINAL) manuscript, ready for release, in October. Everything is going swimmingly.
Pre-orders for the kindle edition are live, now. (peep the link below)
The print edition will be out on October 23rd, but for reasons beyond my understanding, Amazon do not allow for print-copy pre-orders. I don’t know why that is. And because of the hullabaloo revolving the release of The Surrogate, I won’t hit ‘make this live, now!’ on the KDP site until the day before release. £8.99 will be the Print RRP. £3.49 on Kindle.
A little background on Almost Surely
I began writing Almost Surely in October 2013. I broke my ankle playing basketball, and I was off work, on sick leave. I was 75% of the way through writing my first novel (then titled ‘Miles.’), and I just felt something. I had watched The Adjustment Bureau, a movie based on the short story ‘The Adjustment Team,’ by Philip K Dick, and it left me with many, many questions. These, I explored, and the result was a novel I called ‘The Pass.’
I can’t even remember why I called it that, but with all things artistic, they’re never really finished, are they? The Pass morphed into Almost Surely (a title that most won’t understand until they read the thing), and ‘Miles,’ the novel I had been writing, evolved into something I’m now calling ‘Lucid.’
I began Almost Surely in the October of 2013, and I finished the first draft sometime in 2015. It was a hard journey because it was the first story I had ever written which was not P.O.V.
One of the biggest pitfalls was (due to my below-average GCSE English grade, and my overall ‘I don’t give a fuck’-ness) that I did not understand the difference between past and present tense. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? So, combining that with a new narrative style, yeah, it was hard, hard work. I’ve always felt confident with the story, but the execution was severely lacking. That was until I re-wrote it, this year. I’m finally happy with it, now.
I can’t wait for you to see it.
October 23rd. Mark it in your diaries, if you have them…
My creative process.
It’s extremely rare for me to concentrate on only one project, at a time. As I mentioned, above, I was ¾ of the way through writing Miles/Lucid when I began Almost Surely. I hated the idea of leaving the first project unfinished, so I wrote a rough outline for A.S. and dove back into Lucid. I finished that and then jumped right back into A.S.
Before finishing A.S, I wrote a tester chapter for The Surrogate, specs for 2020’s release, (I’ll talk about this, later) and I began work on Lucid’s follow up, too. It was only last year (2017) that I finished all of these projects.
After I finished these, (four novels and one novella, count ‘em!) I promised myself that I would take some time out to polish them. I started work on a new novella before I really knew what I was doing. I wrote that throughout December, and I finished it in the first week of January. From then, until now, I’ve done nothing but work on Almost Surely.
Now that A.S is done, (barring any small corrections before release) I have nothing on my plate!
I know I said that I had begun work on a new project in last month’s blog, and even though this was true at the time, I have done very little on it, since. The truth of the matter is this: I’ve read, and formatted, and done very little else because that is what I needed to do. I burnt myself out. From 2012 until one month ago, I’ve been busy writing one thing or another, without a break. I’m having a break, right now. A break from writing, and a break from (anti)social media. I’m reading, and watching, and learning. I’m thinking about what I want to do next and refuelling my creative juices. I’m planning, and I am exposing myself to narrative styles that are peculiar, and thought-provoking, and when I begin my next few projects, they’re going to be awesome.
So, what’s next?
Well, I do have something planned for next year. It’s a novella, but it will be very, very different to The Surrogate and Almost Surely. I can’t (and won’t) say much more than this:
It will be a palate-cleanser.
Some will love it.
Some will hate it, with a passion.
But, yeah, just you wait.
After this, in 2020, I will be releasing another novel. I need to tinker with the ending, a little, but it’s 97-98% done. After this? I’m not sure.
I still have two novels in the vault, ‘Lucid,’ and the sequel, but these need an overhaul.
My plans are to write a couple of novellas, and a novel, before my 2020 release. I want to dive back into the Lucid, and it’s sequel, just to see what I can do with them. ‘Lucid,’ was heavily inspired by Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Choke,’ Haruki Murakami’s ‘1Q84,’ and a few of my messed up dreams, but it lost its way part of the way through. I’m casually tinkering with it, now, but it’s nothing serious. The epilogue and theme are very personal to me, so it needs to be right if I plan on releasing it.
The Surrogate was a love-letter to fat people. I’m fat, and for a long while, I had low self-esteem. I began writing a break-down of the novella for this blog, because (at the time) I felt as though I had to explain myself. I don’t feel that way anymore. The novella is finding its audience, and I’m happy about that.
Almost Surely? You’ll have to figure it out for yourself.
I’ll say this, though: each project revolves around an idea, or thought, that confuses me. Writing books is just my way of deconstructing these subjects, and processing them so that it makes sense to me. Each story contains something deeply personal to me, which is why they all have a lot of heart. I believe that, as a reader or a viewer of art, you can tell what is genuine, and what is not, in your gut. I hope that if you’ve read a piece of my work, it affected you.
I’ve been reading a lot, recently. The highlight of my year, so far, has been Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov. I was intrigued, to begin with, and then I hated it, but as I neared the end: I fell in love with it.
There’s a lot to take in because it feels like an info-dump, but things take an interesting turn when you’re about half-way through. From that point on, you’re left feeling cynical and fascinated by what Nabokov is doing. It’s a difficult book, (well, it was for me) but the payoff is well worth it.
It’s an unusual narrative style, and it feels very flowery, to begin with, but it’s incredibly well executed. Some say it’s a perfect novel. The journey certainly leaves you frustrated, but when you get there: it’s easy to see why.
It’s a difficult book to recommend, but if you’re interested in alternative narratives, it’s well worth your time. I wasn’t until I read it, but I am, now.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Beautiful, and incredibly acted. It’s the first part of a trilogy, (I’m yet to watch the last) but if you hadn’t known this, wait until you see the end credits. So much storytelling done with lines. Jesus, trust me, give it a watch. It’s worth your time.
The Monthly Playlist