Category Archives: Posts

Changes afoot …

As I expected, there’s been far too long a gap between entries in this blog – I don’t know why this always happens, but when you spend every spare moment putting words down, for some reason a blog is always the first thing to go.

Anyway, big changes over the last few weeks. Exactly three weeks ago I worked my last day at the day job, which means writing has now become the day job instead! I’ve mainly spent this time working on my fourth novel for Black Library, and going through the proofs for my third novel (no idea when that’s out yet though). I’ve also got to pitch some short story ideas for BL, which I’ll work on over the weekend, but it’s for a subject/faction that’s one of my favourites and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it. For the fourth novel, I reckon I’m about two weeks off having a first draft ready. I’m basically working office hours (9am,-4pm) on it, and it’s incredible how much you can get done when you just stick to it.

In other news, I’ve got a short story on the longlist for the Short Fiction Journal & University of Essex International Short Story Prize. This is judged anonymously, so I can’t say what it is, but I should hear if I’m on the shortlist by the end of May. All very exciting anyway.

Finally, I’ve made incremental progress on my own novel (working title ‘The Cutting’), but I’ve found it harder than I thought to combine writing my Black Library fiction during the day and my own fiction in the evening, so I think I’ll just wait until the first draft is finished and then carve out some space for it instead. I’m about 110,000 words into the first draft of The Cutting, but I think it’s going to top out at 150,000 words – the longest thing I’ve ever written anyway. I don’t have an agent, and I don’t have a publisher lined up for it or anything, so it feels far more of a stab in the dark. It means a great deal to me though, and I’m determined to make it as good as it can be.

So, onwards and upwards. It’s 08.58 at the moment, which means it’s time to get cracking on the current Black Library book. I wonder how Chapter 23 is going to work out? I’ve got a bad feeling about some of these characters …

The numbers game

I’ve been writing my current novel for about three years (by ‘current novel’, I mean my own, non-IP or non-Black Library related work). That’s quite a long time to have spent writing a novel, but of course not every day has been spent actually writing it – weeks and months have passed where I’ve done nothing with it, and evenings have gone by in a blur when I’ve pushed it on further than I would have thought possible. Looking at my old notebooks I see that one year ago (9 March 2020) I had 10,000 words of it in hand, and it had taken me about two years to get there. At the moment, the draft is around 90,000 words, which means that 80,000 words have been added to that original 10,000 in the last twelve months.

But in fact, the numbers don’t tell the full story, because the vast majority of those extra 80,000 words were added in the last two or three months. And of course, even if I keep that pace up and manage to complete it in the next two or three months (I think it’s going to top out around 130 – 140,000 words), I still wouldn’t have a complete novel. All I would have would be a first draft, and that’s a very different beast.

I suppose in the end the numbers don’t really count, or not as much as you might think. I can keep track of them and feel like I’m achieving something as they mount up, but all I’m really achieving is getting myself closer to an arbitrary total, and I won’t know what I’ve actually got until I get there. I just hope it doesn’t take me another three years to find out.

New Writing Scotland

I received my contributor copy of the latest issue of New Writing Scotland the other day, containing my story ‘Mercury’. This was a more experimental piece, exploring time, landscape and permanence, loosely organised around my impressionistic ideas of the atomic bomb test sites in New Mexico, and the nuclear missile tests in Nevada, USA.

I haven’t been devoting as much time to my own/non-genre or tie-in fiction recently, so it was good to see some of my more personal work in print. I’m slowly working on a literary/fantasy hybrid novel at the moment, and I’ve got a couple of short stories planned, which I must get back to when I have the time.

Copies of NWS 38 can be bought from Bookshop.org here:

https://uk.bookshop.org/books/the-last-good-year-new-writing-scotland-38/9781906841423?aid=2111

The End of Enlightenment

Black Library had a preview event yesterday, teasing some of the books they’re going to be releasing in 2021, and amongst them was my second novel, The End of Enlightenment:

This is going to be an epic clash between the aelves of the Lumineth Realm-lords, and the dread legions of the Ossiarch Bonereapers. I’m not sure exactly when it’s going to be released, but hopefully it should be round about the spring.