Friday, 30 August 2013

Tandem novel - original cover idea - 20,000 words typed-in mark

original cover idea
I've just passed the 20,000 words typed in mark and I'm still only 2/3 of the way through notebook #1. I suspect that notebooks #2 and #3 are no longer than 20,000 words, so the typed-in version'll probably be about 60-70,000 words max.

There are still some not-yet-typed-in paragraphs from early in notebook #1. Couldn't work out whether they fit or not. But I'll eventually end up folding them into the back-engineered mix. There's also a large chunk of 'narrative speculation' that took place 2/3 of the way into notebook #1: not something that can be typed in, just a guide to where 'this writer' thinks his novel might benefit from going.

Yes, rewriting one's own books from long-hand notes is a bit like taking an alien space ship apart and hoping you can put all the important pieces back together again later.

I've been thinking about combining some of the shorter chapters into a longer chapter structure. I mean, I might end up doing this throughout the book - who knows how this book's going to turn out? Two shorter notebooks to go after this. I'll post the final type-in figure once we get there.

Didn't like this cover, when I first did it, but it's growing on me.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tandem novel - fifteen thousand words - this was supposed to be a romance novel

a G3 whistleblower novel 

so, my intention with this novel, at least when I was thinking about it, and then writing it, travelling around France, for a month, away with family, was to go for a more stripped down i.e. twisted romance novel in the vein of my first novel Red Hedz.

In that 1998 short novel from Creation Press, a psycho-figurative artist dates a very strange girl and all hell breaks loose while the relationship resolves itself. I brought back three notebooks of material from my holiday abroad and at the fifteen thousand words (typed in) stage, I'd say I'm two thirds of the way through notebook #1. Now, this may be deceptive as the first notebook is an English notebook I took over there (and filled very quickly) the other two notebooks are French ones and may be slightly smaller. I'd say they were two thirds the size, so we're looking at 45,000 raw words, that's before any amendments/additions/rewrites or other ideas cram their way into the story.

I wanted this new novel Tandem to be like that 1998 novel; at least in intimacy, in flavour. And it's almost there, save that the writer of Red Hedz has had a whole lot more life under his belt, is a little more jaded. The narrator, this time, is a female lawyer Lorien Howell who is managing the property empire of a man known only as Actor Arrenay (for reasons of client confidentiality). He's created this Market, it's his back-up plan for when World War Three finally kicks off.

"Who are we kidding, World War Three is ON as of the 1950's," says Actor Arrenay. And he goes into great detail why. He justifies his claim with whistleblower evidence and an industrial facility out in the hills in Rio that's just plain insane, can't exist.

And why Lorien? What's her role in AA's plan? Will she survive the G3 endgame?

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Tandem novel - first ten thousand words - typed in.

a G3 whistleblower novel 

it's motoring along, now. Ten thousand words input so far from scrawly biro'd notebooks, and still on notebook one.

It had stalled, initially, once I realised that the book I took to France to write wasn't actually the book I came back with. Once I understood that, it went a whole lot more smoothly. Got a better idea of how to start the novel, the extra couple chapters at the front that built both the female and male actors of the Tandem.

And I remembered a promise I'd made to myself to have the giant Actor Arrenay as one of the prime characters in the book. A quick name change, a slight make-up change, and a personality overhaul and my male central character is now Actor Arrenay from that series of posts on my blog about the Republik of New Afrika.

Dangerous activity, maybe, but inspirational content for a G3 Whistleblower novel.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Type in begins - and it's like tidying up after random teenagers

a G3 whistleblower novel 

I've typed in from long-hand before, but they were mostly short stories, two to five thousand words.

This is a multi-layered espionage thriller of (more than (I hope)) 27,000 words with all sorts of boxes to tick and research items to find and additional homework still to do. I did my best to annotate and record what comes from where and what needs to go where and what might be missing from, and redundant in, the original two-pager, as the story morphed and shape-changed under my leaking biro nibs. But looking back on it, it's gonna be an almighty slog just reading the scribbled words. I've always had (what they call) doctor's script, and this has been amplified (in frequency, I guess) by sometimes having written while a passenger in a moving car or on a long walk or in a state of excitement about the particular section of the book, or scene, or revelation.

What I initially started doing was 'typing in' at around about the middle of the book as I thought that would be just about where the 'feel of the book proper' might live. I typed in one chapter about Rio but I'm not totally convinced it's the right place to start - we still don't really know about the female character yet, so she needs fleshing out more. I've got the format all laid out ready to accept data in any way I want to do it. I have my green-highlighter system in the top-left corner for a started page, and a green-highlighter in the bottom-right corner for a completed page.

I decided to get stuck right in at the start of the book like a proper brave (sleeves rolled up ready for work) adult novelist would.

Writing books is a VERY EXCITING process where things that have never lived suddenly start to impose their will upon the wishes of their creator, and they're doing the same at second draft stage too. It's (for me) a very wild ride to watch characters 'come to life' literally on the page, in the space between ink and paper, and dictate where they should be taken. How they rebel against your hopes and shatter your dreams. Once you have character you have life, it seems. Has any intellectual done a thesis on 'the horrifying creation of character', surely?

TANDEM - document prep'd for content, sir!

a G3 whistleblower novel 

as I've decided to (try to) make the 'typing in' a military-precision operation, today's the day to properly organise the drafting of the notebooks into document format.

FIRST: eight point summary/synopsis of the events of the novel - done.
This is the first real look at how the book will feel. And already it seems like it will benefit from the late-in-the-day ideas I had to expand the opening section of the book so that it's more comprehensive and 'story-telly'. The addition of the 'blackmailer' at the very last minute helped fill a narrative gap, or void from the middle phase of the novel to the latter.

SECOND: write down the chapter headings - done.
Twenty-seven titled chapter headings at this early stage, that's even taking into account a further three chapters that I had always planned to squeeze in before the notebooks began. I basically started writing a tad too late into the meat of the story and don't want a flashback-filled story. This baby has to 'build'.

THIRD: decipher and type all those scribbled words into document format - pending.
Now that I've got an idea what sort of style the book's meant to be written in, I did think about typing the notebooks in backwards i.e. starting with the last chapter. And I might still do so. I did at least put the chapter structure into doc and the synopsis. What's more likely is I'll end up doing something completely different and try to wing it, as always. More in a further report.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

TANDEM - new novel - first post about it...

a G3 whistleblower novel 

 the new novel (and it really is much more than a long short story, I hope) went through about three different changes of direction, and title, during the four frantic weeks it took to write it 'in long-hand' i.e. in notebooks using a pack of leaking biros, while I was away with the family in foreign climes topping up my tan and attempting to keep fit.

It wasn't even the novel I'd expected to work on, this vacation. I say this time, because I remember a time when I took my family to Japan for ten days with the intention of hammering out the guts of a novel. Got a brand new expensive pen. Got a brand new leather notepad to fill.

NOTHING, no dream project spilled forth.

This time, I was see-sawing between writing book two of the Free Planet series, code-named LIBERATOR and writing another novel altogether about a stalker-cum-serial killer who turns into a saviour of the innocents. I had pages and pages of notes for either.

On the spur of the moment and because I really didn't wanna lug loads of documents around in hard copy format on piles of A4, the day before setting out for our family month away in the south of France, I decided to print out a two-page treatment of a real sketchy idea that might have been about a War World where everybody knows but you or might have been about a Rampant Sex Slaughterer, in the end it turned out to be a whole lot weirder, scarier, nastier and inventive than both those ideas slammed together. It just went off on its own, like it was having 'such fun'.

My last three books, since 2008, have been heavily political intrigue-inspired and this new book is a return to why I got writing in the first place. In my 1989 novel Red Hedz, a man and a woman are brought together by bizarre circumstance and have to work their way out of an insane problem. Same thing here, but with less psycho-erotic porn moments. More revelation though, more drama, more of everything I've been practising over the last twenty years as a writer who refuses to go mainstream.

THREE NOTE BOOKS of novelistic content seemed to shit themselves out of their own volition - I even ended up incorporating two short story ideas from like ten years back: one called The Woman Who Dated Suicide Bombers and an unfinished interstellar slaughter story called something like Nuclear Man. Right at the end of the writing session, I realised there was something missing. A kingpin. Just before heading home, I added The Blackmailer - his 11th hour inclusion would finish the project perfectly.

What is a G3 whistleblower? The basic idea is G3 is one of the super secret branches of MI5 that even MI5 don't know about - very surreal stuff happens later on in the novel. If you like your fiction proper hardcore and fucked up, you'll like this one.

I had no contact with the modern world for the entire time I was away: no phones, no internet, no posts or forums - absolutely no distractions, and maybe this is why the creativity just spewed forth in such a frothy manner. I think I might really love this novel.

The hard work of putting this thing back together from pages of cross-referenced and still-to-fill-out ideas that are a-hustling and a-bustling to get put onto disc. More news as it unfolds...