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Where have I been!

Posted on May 7, 2014 by John Scotcher
In the month that has passed since the last time I had time to blog a great deal has happened. My work as a web designer has been especially busy, which whilst it hasn't totally prevented me from getting on here to write some musings, it's left me so tired that when I have had down time, I have been trying to stay away from the PC.
Simon, Amiee and I posing for Leigh before the wine stops us from seeing.

Thus there has been a fair amount of sitting around watching TV (House Of Cards, Homeland, From Dusk Til Dawn – the series and Black Sails, should you be at a loss as to what to watch). There's also been a certain amount of socialising with the resultant recovery the following day. Finally, I did manage to slip in another week's writing.

This was the annual trip that I do with friends who also write. We hire a larger cottage than I would for myself and all move in together. To be honest it is markedly less productive than a normal week as there are a great many distractions. Still I wouldn't change it for the world.

My fellow cottagers for the week were as follows:

Leigh, who I have mentioned on here before. Leigh was working on some rewrites of his own stories in preparation for releasing a Kindle anthology later in the year. He and I have very different working styles – whereas I struggle with anything audible, other than some classical or film soundtrack quietly in the background, Leigh usually has at least a couple of laptops set up – upon one of which there will usually have a film or TV series playing. Whilst it isn't my cup of tea, there is no denying that it works very well for him.

I often think that is is the basis of our upbringings that creates this difference. Leigh grew up with siblings. I always imagine that when he was young he would have to do his homework in a busy, noisy, vibrant house. Thus from an early age he's been used to a work environment being full of noise and what IO would see as distraction. He's grown to like it that way. I was totally the other way; working alone and in silence. Whatever the reason behind the way he sets his work space up, it doesn't affect the output. I read a couple his stories whilst I was there and liked them. I'll point you at the anthology when it comes out.

Simon, the second friend who joined me, is the voice of sanity between Leigh and I who have bickered constantly since university. Si is deadpan, extremely practical and very funny. He is not a creative writer, but rather uses the week to work on his OU degree course, which is (as far as I understand) all about various types of programming. Some of it I get, most of it I do not.

The last human companion was Amiee. She's just started getting into writing, having written a great play last year that actually won a national competition. This week however rather than writing, she slept. A lot.

Conversely, Jasper her dog, the last member of our dysfunctional family, didn't sleep very much at all. He barked. He whined. He stood there staring at you for hours on end, though what he was plotting remains a mystery. Mostly however, he spent the week trying to relocate the rockery in the garden into the lounge. We were constantly picking up stones and rocks to take back outside, only to find them back in the house again within minutes. Eventually we admitted defeat and let him build his little pile, then removed them on the last day.

In between having fun with my companions, I did manage to complete the editing tasks I had set myself. The other goal I achieved was to hunt down a editor. I've decided that to engage a fresh pair of professional eyes on the novel will, I hope, really help the final book. In the self publishing world, there seem to be a great many novels that get published without anyone editing them and it shows. I have actually read about fifteen small press novels with a view to reviewing them here, but as I decided that I did not want to ever publish a review on something that I could not recommend at least in part, most of those will not get an entry. The one thing that reading them has taught me is that you really cannot redraft enough. A first, second or even third draft is probably still not readable if you want to do this writing lark seriously. Thus the editor.

My editor was actually recommended to me through another old friend, who is also a writer. On research, that recommendation was backed up by a number of other satisfied authors who have used her freelance services. And she has the frankly fantastic name of Delena Silverfox – how could I resist?

It was also during this week away that a plan formed that has resulted in my successful sourcing of an illustrator to work with. But more of that next time.

For now, I am just glad to be back blogging. The next fortnight I am planning to web develop in the mornings and work on writing and marketing the book in the afternoons, so with luck I'll be able to really get ahead of myself on the blogging front. I have however just bought a new PC and thus had to get a couple of games to test the PC with (that's my excuse and I am sticking to it). I'm sure my willpower will stop me from playing any games until my main work is done. I am not even looking at the little icon in top left of my screen for my Steam account. No sir, not me.   

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