Camp, Scrivener and General News

To say that April was a bit of a mixture of ups and downs is probably putting it mildly.  My main goal for April was to get the second story in my Mermen & Magic series written – the first draft at least.

The first major distraction came in the form of Silver Publishing going under.  I won’t be going into that again – if you missed the post you can read it here.

Then there has been the Evil Day Job, sucking up my time and my motivation to write anything other than my Curriculum Vitae and job applications.

But, despite all the chaos, I did manage to get my first draft of TEMPESTUOUS TIDES written.  It came in at 82,000 words which, considering everything else I had going on in April, is pretty good, even if I do say so myself.   Of course, there is lot of work still to do on the story so I don’t envisage it going anywhere until at least the autumn.  But it was a successful Camp.

This story is actually the first novel I have written using Scrivener and I have to say I found it invaluable.

I used the split screen for my notes constantly.  No more flicking back and forth.

The sprints I did were helped by the little session counter so I can see if I am hitting my targets for the day.  As well as my targets for the whole document.

And then there was the backup issue…

Every now and then I do something that is very very stupid.  And when I was validating my story I did one such goof.  I found that I could not copy and paste the whole story from the different documents even when it was set to view them all at once. So rather than mess about with the compile feature just yet, in my infinite wisdom (ha bloody ha) I decided to do a quick CTRL C CTRL V process.  Except I did it a bit too quick and accidentally copied a short section over a longer section.  YIKES!

Thankfully the backups that save automatically when you shut down came to my rescue and I got my missing words back.

This did teach me that I shouldn’t discount functions of Scrivener that I was not really taking much notice of.  I am now utilising the “Snapshot” feature like crazy.

Now, my hope was to get the third Mermen & Magic book written between now and November (and maybe use NaNoWriMo in November to write book 4).  However, this is probably not going to happen.

Unfortunately, I now have a lot of books I need to decide what to do with and find homes for and if they do find homes I am going to be getting a lot more edits in the coming months than I would normally have.

I still don’t know if I am going to get some of my stories republished at all, but I do need to sort them out one way or another into the publish or don’t piles.  The problem I seem to have is that the one thing worse than sending my babies out there, is sending them out there again when they have already come back to me bruised and battered.  I’m probably being selfish in wanting to keep them with me forever.

I have some time off work at the end of May and the HEAVENLY SINS series is my priority that week.  I want them submitted to Totally Bound by the 1st June (my last day before I am back at work) at the latest.

LET DOWN YOUR HAIR is another story that I do have more of a firm idea of what I am going to do with it.  The good news is that I am pretty sure I am going to try to find it a new publisher. The bad news is I don’t know when.  I have two sequels for this story that I would like to write.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I can commit to a second series (at least one with deadlines) when I have the Mermen & Magic one on the go already.

My intention is to get the two sequels written before LET DOWN YOUR HAIR goes anywhere.   I actually wrote like crazy over the last weekend (Bank Holiday – yay!) and got the first draft of one of them written.  I hope to get all three done and ready to go to a publisher by the end of the year.

LET DOWN YOUR HAIR may end up being republished with a different title.  When I wrote it I didn’t really have any plans for a sequel but I know most publishers do like sequels/series to have similar titles.  Unfortunately this one is a title that is difficult to do that with.  I am thinking maybe something like Curses and Corsets with the second book being called Potions and Prisons.  Not a clue what the final one would be called though it may have Dragons in the mix.

For anyone curious about book 2, it is the story of the grandson of the cannibalistic witch from Hansel and Gretel.  A witch himself, his house is his prison by virtue of who he is.  Then along comes a woodcutter….

Actually, how about a tiny teaser?   Be warned, this is a first draft and therefore unedited.

The trees had vanished, in fact everything outside of the witch’s garden was gone.  Only a vast expanse of arid desert could be seen in every direction.

John turned back to the witch. “What did you do?” he demanded.

The witch walked back towards the cottage. “I didn’t do anything.”

John did a double take at the witch. Her voice had changed completely. No longer croaky and rasping, instead it sounded very much like his own. “Where did the forest go?” he asked.

“It’s still right where it was,” the witch replied. John was sure now the witch was actually male. “It’s my house that moves, on the stroke of midnight. I did tell you to leave.”

“You didn’t tell me the place was going to vanish with me in it!”

The witch pushed back his hood to reveal a handsome young man. His blond hair brushed the edge of his collar and his dark blue eyes flashed with anger. “I, even more than you, wish I had had time to tell you exactly why you had to leave. Being stuck here with you for the next year is hardly my idea of a pleasant time.”

John felt his stomach flip at the man’s words. “Just point me in the direction of the nearest town or inn and I’ll be on my way.”

“There is nothing else here except my cottage,” the witch replied. “The place is cursed to be here in this desolate wasteland forever, only returning to the real world – your world – for a single day each year, midsummer’s day in fact.”

“A year?” John could stop himself from shouting. “Are you saying I’m stuck here for a year?”

“Unfortunately for both of us, yes,” the witch said before disappearing into the cottage and slamming the door behind him.


Regarding the rest of my stories, I need to pluck up the courage to send one or more of them into a publisher and I think the ones I am likely to send in sooner rather than later are TOUCH OF A GHOST and ONE PERFECT WISH.  I was thinking about posting the second one here as a free read but it really doesn’t seem to be the best one to do that with.  I would rather have a story that is nicely paced with even-ish parts and that won’t happy with ONE PERFECT WISH.

I would probably have sent it in to a publisher a while ago apart from the whole problem of choosing the right publisher for the right books.  Although there are many publishers out there who are accepting orphans left by the closure of Silver Publishing, most of them will only accept them with new works as well.  Which is great, apart from I only had one new book that had never been released and ONE PERFECT WISH is it.  I am sure you can see the problem in trying to find new homes.

I am hoping to get some more stories written, probably shorter ones (novella length) so I can hopefully not have all my eggs in one basket.

In the meantime I am sticking with Totally Bound at the moment and will be considering my options regarding other publishers later in the year.

Regarding a free blog story, I am considering continuing the story I started yesterday THE MIDNIGHT SWIMMER, but only if people are interested in seeing it continue – it would probably end up being MMM if I did.

The one thing I really need to do though is start setting myself some personal goals and deadlines.  Far too often I drift through the weeks/months/years and time gets away from me.  I think setting some firm deadlines might help me, so we’ll see how that goes.

So that is my news for the moment.  I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek at my latest WIP.

2 responses to “Camp, Scrivener and General News

  1. Ah, April. It drove us all nutty I think. I survived but failed at my planned project. I’m hoping to do better at July’s camp session. So, Scrivener’s actually worth the effort to learn?

    • I found it a great help. Especially for longer projects where I write out of order and constantly need to cross-reference stuff. I do have to keep looking up how to do things with it, but I have the basics pretty much sorted now. I love it for the first draft stage though would not use it for editing once a story is submitted to a publisher. No track changes so Word it is.

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