Archive for the ‘Writing/Journalism’ Category

I don’t know what it is, but despite the fact that I’ve barely posted over the last couple of months (and let’s be honest, this year has been a bit of a write-off so far), but I’m still getting 20 hits a day. Who are you people who keep visiting? What do you want? WHY HAVE YOU COME HERE!? I wonder if WordPress is fudging the numbers to make me feel better. Or even feel guilty. “These people come to your blog day in and day out, and do you talk to them? No. Shame on you” Well, I am ashamed. But mainly because, as a self-proclaimed ‘writer’, I really ought to be spending more time here.

As I mentioned in my pre-holiday post, I’ve been rather bogged down with this data-entry job since I was let go in May. It’s soul-crushing work, and to be honest once I finish my quota I don’t really feel like doing anything else on a computer for the rest of the day. I don’t even play many games at the moment – I’ve got a regular Battlefield 3 squad that I play with. All friends of mine from the area… It’s amazing how BF3 still holds up as being a genuinely solid experience. The only thing that lets it down now is the server populations on the DLC maps. It’s rare that I get to play on a map that was added after release these days.

Still, I’m hearing some positive noises about Battlefield 4 now, and with Hardline on the way the price has dropped in the shops, so I’ve picked up a copy to try out slowly while I wait for the rest of my friends to make the leap as well. I’ve only played one match so far online, and the only thing I’ll say is that their pre-spawn menu UI is horrible. I’m sure I’ll get used to it but I didn’t have a clue how to alter my loadouts or anything like that, or even which class I was. Weird.

Project Ascension

Since I haven’t been posting much, there’s only been a couple of blog updates since I officially announced my book – Project Ascension. You’ll be pleased to know (unless you don’t care) that I’ve now officially begun work on the second draft. I’ve had as much feedback as I’m going to get – 3/4 people read the thing the whole way through, while another couple struggled to get out of the first part. I realised pretty quickly that the first part needed a lot of work – potentially I’m looking at a complete overhaul at this point. But I got some positive feedback overall on the important parts of the book, so that’s encouraging. I’ll let you know how I’ll get on.

Job Update

Won’t waste too much of your time talking about this – but I’m doing ok. It was scary for a few months, and that is part of the reason why I took that data-entry gig, but now interesting times are ahead. I can’t talk about it too much (and I don’t want to jinx anything) but I think I’m done with games writing now. Moving into PR/Marketing work more and more, especially with some of the part-time/project gigs I’ve managed to pick up for the coming months. I may still do some writing, but it’ll be more niche stuff and few and far between I reckon. I’m saving what’s left of my writing passion for my book

Boardgames

Can’t remember how much I’ve talked about this, but I’ve gotten more and more into boardgames over the past year, especially since I lost my job. I may start talking about them more on hear as I’m currently experience the same passion for them as I used to have for videogames back in the beginning. Plus I’m also doing a Megagame in March next year, which I’m very excited about. If you don’t know what that is, go Google it. It looks immense!

That’s all for now. I should really get back to work but I know how worried you’ve all been about me.

Until next time.

Well, this is rather exciting. Last year, I told you guys I was working on my first novel, codenamed ‘Project Author’ (I have a great imagination). Yesterday, I was proud to announce that I’d officially finished the First Draft of that book, and I’m here to share a few details with you now, and to lay-out the plan for the coming weeks. So, without further ado, please say hello to Project Ascension.

Ascension” is the current working-title for my book, which is a series of four (for the moment anyway, that could change). I haven’t decided whether I’ll just call the series ‘Ascension’, and name the books something else, or maybe have a subtitle e.g. Ascension: Awesomeness or something like that, or simply keep it to Ascension: Book One etc…, those are questions for another time, but the meaning of the word, and the theme, are fairly important to the book’s over-all plot, so I’m keen to keep it in.

If you were to go into a book store, you’d find Ascension in the SF/Fantasy section. Online, it’d be labeled under ‘Science-Fiction’ and/or ‘(a)Historical Fiction’. My goal with this series was to create something that would surprise people, that they wouldn’t be able to see coming, and I hope I’ve done that here with the first book.

Test-Readers

Do you want to be a test reader? I’ve already got some people ‘on the books’ that I’ll be sending a copy out too, but I’m keen to get as much feedback as I can. Obviously I’ve mentioned genres above… my only advice is to take those with a pinch of salt. I can’t really explain why the genre of the book is a little more complicated than most books without giving the game away too much. If you really don’t think you’d be interested in reading it though, don’t worry.

If you’re interested in test-reading my book, you can hit me up on Twitter, or email me: joe@just-communication.co.uk

I’m going to be taking a break from Project Author now for a few weeks, concentrate on career a bit, and just let the feedback collect for a while. It’ll be difficult, as I’m already itching to start changing things and making it better, but I’ve got other stuff on my plate to worry about right now anyway.

Let me know if you have any questions, and let me know if you want a test copy of the book! It’s in .PDF format, so make sure you have something you can read it on.

 

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!

I’ve always found the May 4th joke slightly ridiculous, if I’m honest, but I do love Star Wars so any excuse to celebrate. Episode VII has been in the news recently, of course, given that they’ve released the final main cast list. I think it’s a good idea to have some of the old cast and the new cast there in the same film… I imagine they’ll be some kind of hand-off to the new generation? Disney, as much as they annoy me as a company sometimes (they keep trying to shut down the videogames industry), have done wonders with the Marvel franchise, so maybe they’ll do some good here too.

The only thing that worries me is JJ Abrams himself. Sure, he did a really good job with the first of the new Star Trek films, but Into Darkness really wasn’t great. Watchable, but certain aspects of that film could have been done a lot better. I won’t say anymore for spoiler reasons. Basically he seems a bit inconsistent at the moment, especially with LOST still being a thing that he did. What was he thinking?

It’s important to remember one thing though with these new movies, and it’s the same mentality I had when I saw the prequel trilogy: they’re probably not ‘for’ us. They’ll be for a new generation of fans, who’ve grown up with different standards and values. If ‘previous’ fans like us end up liking it as well, then that’s just an added bonus. If anything they’ll be aimed at the kids who watch that Clone Wars cartoon.

Me and some friends of mine had a Star Wars movie-marathon a couple of weekends ago. We had a lot of fun, but ultimately it made me decide not to watch those films again anytime soon. Especially the original trilogy. When I was a kid, those movies seemed like the best movies of all time, but as I get older (and the more I watch)… the more magic is lost. I want to save some of that, at least. Maybe when I have kids, I’ll watch it with them. The only one I think I can watch and still enjoy is Episode 3, because it has some nice moments and action-scenes in them. Episode 1 is only good for the Darth Maul bit, and we don’t talk about Episode 2. Not ever. As for the original films… they were 70’s/80’s films, ultimately, and it shows.

Project Author Update

Some of you who follow me on Twitter/Facebook might already know where I’m at, but things are so close on the book front. I hit 72,000 words at the end of last week, and I’m essentially on the home stretch! I’m very excited… almost too excited because I find myself getting impatient a lot quicker with the final few chapters I’ve left to write. Essentially, here is my checklist of things ‘to do’ for the first draft:

* Finish writing Chapter’s 6, 8, 15 & 16 fully. These are the only chapters left that I haven’t written out fully so far. Everything else has already been written out.

* ‘First Draft’ proofs every chapter. I’ve already started this process, as the way I write I tend to bounce around from task to task to keep my engaged, but essentially this is me giving everything one more once-over, making sure it all ties together and flows well, and then marking it as a ‘first draft’ and never going back to it (bar inconsistencies I’ve missed). Currently I’ve ‘FD’d’ 12 out of 2o chapters (18 main + pro and epilogue).

Once that’s all done, I’ll have myself a bona-fide First Draft that I can send out to some test readers I’ll have lined up! Which reminds me. I need more test readers. I’ll also be able to start talking more about the book properly, and I can start looking towards creating some supporting material around it and maybe even lay the ground work for Book Two. Not too much though, as I imagine I’ll have to do some re-writing.

Very exciting times right now!

200

Posted: April 1, 2014 in Other, Writing/Journalism
Tags: , , ,

… and I just got informed that that previous post was my 200th post! Yay me!

I’m now at 50,000 words! Yay me!

After doing some calculations, I’d be surprised if I had more than 75K when the book is finished. At the moment I’ve got a structure of three parts, with six chapters per part and averaging at 4,000 words a chapter. I was hoping to hit 90,000, but I’ve already decided that I’ll just write the story as I envision it now, and see what happens. It’ll be as long as it ends up being – what’s more important is to start getting it into the hands of some ‘beta’ readers I already have lined up, start getting some genuine feedback. Maybe then I’ll be able to add, or expand, etc… 80,000 would be a good minimum to reach.

Anyway. To celebrate this milestone, I went ahead and bought a full-time use license of the software I’ve been using to write my book – Scrivener. Let me tell  you, as someone who started off writing his book in MS Word (What WAS I thinking?), this program was a revelation. It’s really easy to get into it, and it makes working with a multi-section document like a book so much easier to interact with. I wish I’d had this for my dissertation, I wouldn’t have had to go through so many headaches in the end.

The only thing I will say is that the compiling part – where you take your work and compress it into one, neat document – was a bit fiddly. It wasn’t 100% clear what all the options were and I had to compile several times just to figure out how to get the format I wanted. Other than that though – wonderful!

It costs $40 USD/£26 to buy, and it’s worth every penny if you need to write something big. It’s also got loads of built-in multi-media features as well that I don’t need to use, but that someone else might find extremely useful.

So, I’m halfway through my book. Ish. I think. It’s hard to tell really – I’m told the average fiction novel is around 90,000 words, and I’m at 41/42k at the moment. So I’m halfway from that average, but in terms of what I’ve actually done, I’ve got a whole ‘third’ of the book nailed down (working with three parts at the moment), with the rest still very much WIP. Still I’m running into a bit of a problem when it comes to writing some of these other sections. It’s mostly writers block derived from the fact that I haven’t properly mapped these segments of the book, but the plainest way I can sum up problem is the fact that I’ve written all the ‘good’ bits.

When I first came up with the idea for my book, there were several key set-pieces and scenes I envisioned which summed up the main plot points. Granted, these scenes went over a lot of revision (I’ll have to talk about how the book looked at the beginning vs. how it looks now at some point), but I was still mainly working with the same handful of scenes to begin with. Now they are written, I’m basically filling in the blanks, and It’s kind of boring. Probably my fault for not thinking of something more interesting to put in these scenes – I can work on it I guess as there’s still a lot to do.

Another problem I have though is that If I think out a scene TOO much in my head, I know what’s going to happen already as I write it, and that saps me of my will to get it on the page.

It’ll all work out hopefully. The way I write means I’m often hopping forwards and backwards along an article or document, and then as the blanks get filled in I then re-write bits so they stitch together easily. Main thing though is to bash out that first draft, then I can relax a bit and get to the real work.