Monthly Archives: July 2012

Chapter 4 of beach story (working title)

Got the boys to bed, sat down waiting for the wife to get in from work, and popped the netbook on my lap. Last night I finally got more written, not much (1000 words) but chapter four has begun. My main character discovers some maturity and relaxes into the inevitable and we get some development on two fringe characters who were slightly neglected in previous chapters. Still finding it hard to write a believable teenage girl without just copying and pasting bits and pieces of my friends from high school.

This one is a light holiday read and I’m experimenting with writing in a ‘real world’ contemporary setting (my other two books are set in a very different world around a hundred years from now). The limit is actually interesting because I’m having to let my characters do all the work of telling the story rather than the setting and the excitement of the unusual in an unfamiliar universe. To be honest this was the point of this book, I knew I needed to work on my ability to write a believable and relatable character with little overt description (my secondary characters have so far felt really wooden). I thought that if I wrote about a large group of friends I’d get the chance to work not simply on character but on fast character introduction.

Keeping with guidelines from successful Kindle authors I’m setting a word limit for the book of about 100,000 with 20 chapters of 5000 words each (easier to dip in and out of though I hope people get more gripped than that). From what I hear it’s tempting to go crazy with your word count, safe in the knowledge that no matter how much you write your book will only ever weigh as much as a kindle. I don’t want to get caught up in that so I’ve been strict from the outset.

Another tip for kindle writing is to read up on how to set chapter headings and on how to set paragraph format. If you get this right before you start you’ll save hours of formatting work at the end. Set all chapter headings as ‘heading’ in the formatting options at the top of your word-processing software and set all formatting to produce paragraphs that meet Kindle’s recommendations for formatting. A quick few minutes setting formatting at the start are worth it, trust me. It sound like a pain but there’s nothing worse than spending an extra few weeks (yes it can take that long) formatting something, I’ve learned from mistakes with my thesis.

I’ll try and get more done tonight (if the boys stay down) and I’ll post this weekend with an update. Thanks for reading.

(N.B. The lovely west coast beach pictured above is between Arisaig and Morar, with the island of Rhum in the distance, I nabbed the picture from

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Posted by on 26 July, 2012 in Uncategorized


Getting started

OK this is an entry with a double meaning, of course it’s the start of this new blog I’m writing about my attempts at being an author but also I thought this was a good place to talk about getting started on a novel/book. I write fiction, I say that like I’m already published and in fact I haven’t even finished a book yet.

What made me decide to start writing an extra blog (I write another about toys at was a chat with an old friend who is newly married and who kindly popped by for a visit with his wife the day before they were both heading back to Australia. Turns out his dad is considering getting into kindle publishing for a non-fiction book he’s been working on for a while, when I mentioned to Calum that I had looked into it myself he asked me what kind of thing I intended to publish. It was this that made me think of how many books I have in a working state on my netbook, a few chapters written of each and most of the book plan in place, to be honest given a few completely free weeks one of them could be finished and the other two shouldn’t take too much more effort than that. Though where do you find the time between work and the kids?

I’ve found time (in little drips and drabs through the week), it’s not much but it does the job and if I keep at it I should be able to reel off a chapter or two per week. The main reason for this blog is to kind of force me to get on with it. When I was writing my MPhil thesis I had to contact my supervisor regularly to give him updates on my progress and pass on the work I’d been doing. I think I’m just used to this way of working so I’ll be using this blog to keep myself on my toes and I’m counting on you good people who are reading this to comment when I fail to deliver a status report.

For reasons which should be obvious I probably won’t put too much about my books and their content until they are actually published on kindle (at which point I’ll welcome any feedback you have) what I will do is describe what it’s like to move from step to step and I’ll probably occasionally put in a post with some details on what it’s like trying to format your work for the kindle.

A quick little start to my blogging on the subject of writing should be what is involved in starting to write. If you want to write and, like me, suffer from an imagination which is faster than your typing skills then you need to write two things at once (use word processing programs or old fashioned pen and paper it doesn’t really matter). Sit down and start writing chapter one, get the characters to introduce themselves to you bit by bit and every time a plot element pops into your head (or any other important detail about your characters and their exploits) write it down in your other file/pad and keep this as your book plan. This way you can continue to write the snail paced stuff of the actual book whilst enjoying the progress of the book as a whole. That’s what I’ve done and so far it’s stood me in good stead. Anyone who fancies trying it today (or their next free half hour) please let me know how you get on, we can ‘spot’ each other and make sure we don’t slip into a pile of unfinished novels/short stories/books. I look forward to hearing from readers and please please shout at me if I don’t get on here at least once a week with a chapter done and some comments about how I’m getting on.

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Posted by on 19 July, 2012 in Uncategorized

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