Borobo Reef

I had planned to have finished the first draft of the next book by the 30th of March. To this end, I pulled out all the stops. I was writing day and night, lunch time, after dinner, before going to bed and even while sleeping.

All that hard work paid off – I did it! Not only did I hit my target, I managed to get it done days earlier than anticipated. That, like, never happens. And it’s got me worried.

Why worry?

You see, getting something done quickly is great, unless it’s done so hastily that stuff goes missing or gets overlooked or gets done sloppily.

I’m not really worried, not like that. It’s more that I’m going to stay on my toes during the second draft, keeping an eye out for anything glaringly obvious.

When’s that due? Glad you asked. 25th of April is the deadline for that. So I’m going at that hammer and tongs, right?
Wrong.

The Cover

Instead of going straight into the second draft, I’m going to let my reading / writing brain have a rest and get cracking on the cover. That’s right, rather than put the cover off until the end, I’m going to use the down time to do some creative drawing.

My Wacom pad has been lonely.

TedrickCombine.jpg

So I started with a sketch of an octopus, the protagonist of my story, a spud named Tedrick Gritswell. After some scruffy sketches, I used the watercolour to get some feel for how he would look, and once that got somewhere close to what I was after, I added a layer and dropped in a background.

Corel Painter has some neat features like layering, lighting and texturing so I mucked about with that so see what I could use. After all, my spud ain’t smooth, he’s got skin. Plus there’s shading to be done and depth of field and all of that.

At the time of writing, I’m still working on the coral cliffs in the background and getting some rocks and shells and other plants in there, along with cleaning up the water and adding some details, but here tis:Tedrick6.jpg

I’ll keep at it for the next few days while I chill out my brain, you know, maybe get out and make a petrol station for Joey like he’s been bugging me. Fresh air and exercise, that’s what I need.

If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

Huh? Why is he missing an arm? I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until the book is out to find out.Mini Jeztyr Logo

What’s next, Jez?

I’ve been quiet since releasing Part 6, I know, and I’m sorry. Don’t think I’m sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, though. Not me, that’s not how I roll.

Sure, I had a couple of days of down-time to recuperate, get my head away from the checklists and shout-outs and double-checking and distribution that comes with a new book. That was fun.

But after a bit the brain gets itchy, the fingers get twitchy and it’s time to start writing again. I picked up on the next in the Paranormology Series, tentatively titled “Portsmouth Avenue Ghost” and got cracking at it. The funny part is that the first draft is almost done.

How is that funny?

It’s funny because I had the overwhelming notion to stop. Jam my foot hard on the brake. Deploy the parachute. Why? Because it was going too fast. Now that’s something you don’t hear everyday, a writer lamenting that the book is coming along too quickly, but it’ true. I wasn’t unhappy with the story, in fact I’m quite chuffed.

So why slow down? Quality, man, quality. The skeleton is there, with good fleshy bits hanging off it and some hair and skin – I’ll fill in the rest later – but stories have a need to sit and ferment, stew in their own juices as it were. If you push it too fast, you can miss out on developing subtle features like a character’s growth or a location’s description, on the bits that make the story that much more interesting. I’ve done it before – neglected to rest the story that is – and I have been unhappy with the outcome.

Not this time. This time I have forced made notes to myself in the text, parked it for future reference so that the next time I read over it, it will be like reading the story for the first time. Or, if you rather, like reading the story as someone else.

You might then think that I actually have been twiddling my thumbs. After all, I’m not writing, right? Nothing could be farther from the truth. I’m midway through another book, on a very different tangent altogether.

Running under a kind of crop-rotation theory, I figured that too much working the Paranormology angle will exhaust and weaken it. I’ve only just finished up with Sci-Fi, hence that needs a rest. So I’m going for the ‘Weird Fiction’ angle, in a similar vein to The Bullet and Atlas, Broken.

Hot Dog! What’s it about?

I’d like to tell you, but I can’t. Not yet, anyway, not until I’ve got the first draft done and I’m happy with it. I can drop a few hints, though.

First, it’s a detective novel. Think first person, film noir. “Gee. Thanks, Jez. That narrows it down some.”

Secondly, it has a distinct nautical or aquatic theme. There’s murder and mystery and good old fashioned skulduggery.

Thirdly, the characters are relatable, but certainly not ordinary.

Too much of a teaser? Sorry. Like Portsmouth, I don’t want to rush this one. Once the first draft is complete, I’ll let it rest a bit. In that time, I’ll be getting the front cover done. My plan is to use my Wacom to make the sketches and watercolouring and shading and whatnot. Come to think of it, I’m really excited about that. More on that when it comes, I guess.

In the meantime, I’m afraid you’ll just have to bear with me as I plod along. First draft has been scheduled for completion by March 30th and so far, it’s on track. Well, it would be if I wasn’t spending time writing blog posts.

Oops.Mini Jeztyr Logo