To recap . . .

Let’s recap. Sometime around April last year I began setting down ideas on paper for a novel. At the time it was nameless, unless you count ‘Mars Shit’ as a name. I’d been kicking some concepts around for a while, and they began to coalesce that April. With a little bit of corralling I shaped them into the outline for a novel length story.
At the end of that month I started writing. There were so many reasons not to write it (I wouldn’t see it through; it would be rubbish; I had no experience, etc) that I bloody-mindedly thought I had to give it a shot. Yes, it might be rubbish, but at least I would have done it. And if I could do it, there were all kinds of super-modern channels by which I might be able to get it out into the world.
So I set off down that road, knocking out between one and three thousand words a day until I’d finished the first draught. I was driven on by the fear that if I stopped I would never start again. Some days words flowed and I was pleased, occasionally impressed, with what I had written. Other times it was a labour and I turned out garbage. But I pressed on.
When I finished in midsummer I put the draught away and was relieved to be shot of it. The last couple of weeks had been particularly trying. If I couldn’t have seen the finish line in the distance I might have fallen. I staggered to the end then put it out of my mind.
Around mid-November I had recuperated enough to dig it out again. I read it and began revising, rewriting and editing it into something readable. I moved house in late January, so there was another hiatus there, but from March on I worked on the manuscript until its release in September.
As the release date appeared over the horizon I stared to think about publicity. After poking around the internet for some guidance I discovered that I should have been working on building some form of public profile years before I even though about setting pen to paper. Ho hum. I had three months to build something, so I set up this site and one for the book. The point of this site was to generate a following who would then be curious about the book.
Well. Nice plan, in principle, but what would I blog about? I tried a few wibblings about my experiences writing the book but no one was biting. Why should they? It also came to my attention around this time that there are thousands upon thousands of wannabe writers hawking their dubious wares around the interwebs. There I was, trying to make my voice heard above a massive discordant chorus of dreck.
The book was released on 22 September. It got a couple of good reviews (see here and here) and I’m happy with the way it turned out. I think it’s a good book, and I stand by it. I’m currently working on some shorts set in the same fictional universe, then I’m going to be writing book two of the trilogy.
I gave up blogging for a while because no one was in the least bit interested. I’d get maybe five views for a post, and I’d suspect four of them were bots. But now I’m back. The book is out and I’m once again seeking the world’s attention. I’ve got some schemes in the pipeline and I’m planning to build on the tiny bit of interest I have manage to garner so far.
So this is a sort-of new beginning. The book, now called Ephialtes (a huge improvement on the working title, if still unbeloved by some) is taking its baby steps in the world and I’m back here to support it. Stick around, it might get interesting.

Where’ve you been?

Where have I been? Where have you been?

Truth is that I got a little bored with writing for an audience of approximately no one (I know, I know; I’m getting into self-publishing, I should get used to it).

I wondered what would happen if I left it alone for a week or so. And that got me thinking: maybe I should stop writing the blog for a while, too.

What happened was this: zip. No people stumbling across old posts, delighted at what they found. No new ‘followers,’ no ‘likes.’

So here’s a new experiment – what happens if you don’t blog for a week, and then you do?

I can hardly wait to find out, but I think I have a pretty good guess.

Finally finished at last again

I guess some things never end.

I read someone somewhere saying about – was it books, or music or film? I don’t remember, but they said something like, ‘You don’t ever finish them, you just let them go.’

I’ve completed my latest read through of Ephialtes in paperback. That must have been about the tenth time I’ve read it from start to finish, excluding all the times I’ve read individual chapters or scenes. And still they come – the typos.

This time around I picked up two hundred and fourteen required corrections. To be fair, around three or four of these were missing words or punctuation and a further five or six were minor editorial adjustments. The rest were hyphen-based.

Obviously, I’d like the finished article to be polished to a dazzling shine, but I think I may be at that ‘letting go’ point. I’ve been here before, of course, and how foolish those times seem to me now. But this time? I don’t know, I think this might be it.

I had a skim through my digital proof before ordering a hard copy. I noticed I had ‘air-lock’ in there somewhere, where it should be ‘airlock.’   I guess I’ll stick that on the pile for the next go-over, should there be one. If there isn’t, maybe I’ll come to treasure that one little rogue hyphen. Maybe that’s the necessary flaw that sets off the perfection about it.

Or could it just be that I can’t face going through the whole damn thing again?

Definitely the former. That’s what I’m telling myself; definitely the former.

Please talk about typos again, please

Everyone loves typos. I know it’s cheap, but since I’m here to garner popularity I’m going to go on about typos again. I spoil you, and you know it.

I’m ploughing through the paperback proof of Ephialtes and noting required corrections. I’m up to page 184 (of 464. Tiny font too, so it’s lots of words) and have 118 minor corrections so far. I say minor – I think there are a couple of missing words and a few instances of minor editorial tinkering, too – because the bulk of these corrections concern the use and misuse of hyphenation. Ain’t that funny?

I’ve already mentioned that, of all things, I had quite a bit of gyp with capitalisation, and that’s weird enough, but who’d have thought that hyphens could be such a bother?

So this is my top writerly tip for the day: keep on top of your capitalisation and hyphens, and the rest will look after itself.

There. Is that enough typo-talk for you? Right then, on your way. Don’t you have homes to go to?

One nil to the Arsenal

Gavin E Parker, looking comfortable and relaxed in a retro Arsenal top at the Emirates Stadium

Gavin E Parker, looking comfortable and relaxed in a retro Arsenal top at the Emirates Stadium

Just got back from the Emirates. Here’s my match report:

Arsenal won.

What, am I a sports correspondent now?

Pretty grim weather-wise. Realised shortly after we set off that it was going to be even colder than a standard English Summer rainy day. I was only wearing a T-shirt (okay, and trousers, pants, socks and the rest). In the end I had to buy a massively overpriced long-sleeved T-shirt in the Arsenal shop in order to avoid being cold and miserable. Well, to avoid being cold, anyway; it would take more than a T-shirt to stop me being miserable.

It felt very weird donning Arsenal garb at the stadium. I felt self-conscious, like it would make me stand out where, of course, if anything it would make me blend in. I guess I had a low-level fear that a stranger would grab me and ask me obscure questions about 1992/1993 squad or somesuch. Once I had failed that test the shirt would be unceremoniously ripped from my back in front of a laughing crowd. But that didn’t happen, so win for me.

All in all a fun day out, and we avoided the rain, too.

Still no comment

Just another quick one:

It’s coming up for two weeks, and still no one has commented on any of my posts. Now, I realise that no one is reading my posts, but is that really any excuse? I mean, ask yourselves; really?

I have a couple of followers now who, I presume like me, have just followed a few random people in the hope of getting followed back. When they get a notification, ‘Gavin E Parker has done a blog-poo. Again,’ they probably pay as much attention as I do when I get one for them.

I guess what I’m saying is that the followers aren’t following, in any meaningful sense, and the ‘views’ I get (suspiciously, they come very soon after new posts, and according to WordPress statistics are from search engine referrals) are probably from bots or the like.

So, if you’re out there and are a real person, please just add a comment. Even just a single word. Even just a single letter.