Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose
It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix . You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…
This time, I’ve had a think about how I got going with my new book, based on past experience with the others…
I’ve written and published two books, one an urban fantasy-thriller, the other a (short) book of (ultra-short) stories. I’m in the middle of my third book, a novel, around 40K words in out of probably about 75K…
What have I learned from my earlier forays?
That a rapid lift-off is important. My first novel started as more of a “write one chapter of something and see how it goes”. The longest things I had written before that were long legal opinions. I wrote the first chapter, felt good and just struck out into the ocean from my tiny island beach, trying not to be swamped by churning waves and iffy Internet.
The first chapter proved not to be the first chapter at all in the end. My initial efforts were very much aimed at describing the world and some of the denizens, I suspect more for my benefit (and pleasure) than anyone else’s.
Nothing actually happened in the book when I started it. There was a set-up scene of the main character wandering around his London HQ, bumping into what I thought of as interesting locations and characters.
Nothing changed. It was like painting a mural.
Then, when I’d properly got the taste for it, came the painful evolutionary process of re-organising material and dumping some of it – particularly any over-indulgent scene-setting material that I was too pleased with (or it simply pleased me) but did not fit the needs of a Beginning (I hate prologues, I find them too artificial and jarring with continuity).
The pick-axes and shovels had to come out…What had to go was too info-dumpy, too self-obsessed, too whatever – too needing to be cut and then pasted into an “at some point may come in useful” file. You know, the file that you never look at again, like most clippings from the Good Food magazine or that recipe book based on Madagascan delicacies that Auntie Beryl gave you six Christmases ago.
I have read thousands of books, but had never really clocked how they tend to work. I have simply read them.
Something happens to get the reader interested, the main character is introduced and is hopefully appealing, there is some sort of hook at around the end of the third chapter or so to keep the reader from the book equivalent of channel-hopping to yet another of the millions of available tomes. That all sounds very cold to me, but it wasn’t until I focused on that kick-start that things started to happen a little more fluently. And I had to realise that everything was a kick-start for the next part, phase , whatever of the book…
In my current book, I have three main protagonists, all on a collision course from the off. I have changed the running order of the first three chapters once, and I think that’ll be it. No navel-gazing, just an attempt to make sense of that and the following material. I’m just going along for the ride at the moment.
I’m eager to see what happens.
I have a rough idea of how it will end, but that’s up to Rebecca Slade, Greg Barker and Charles Fitzgerald, Cheung, Unusual Steve and the others.
In the meantime, here’s my proposed (not set in stone!) first line, which I hope you’ll find enticing…
It began with a cat, a single-decker London bus and the First World War, not necessarily in that order.Guardian Angel
My plan is to give you periodic reports of where I’m at, now that my new book is more than a mere glimmer…
And I’m nearly ready for beta readers of the first half, if you’re interested.
Long way to go yet…!
At The Lair Of The Camrose: Everyone welcome!Alan Camrose