The first rule of Write Club is: you don’t talk about Write Club

Well hello there. Sorry for the lack of non-work postings recently – I mentioned a while back that there was a reason for it, but I didn’t explain what it was. So here we go.

For the last five or six months I’ve been killing people.

I’ve killed so many people I’ve lost track of the total. I’ve pushed people off balconies, sabotaged cars and shot at people with a variety of weapons, and I’ve also attacked a bear with a helicopter.

Or to put it another way, I’ve been writing a novel.

Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those blog posts that finishes off by saying that the book is available from all good shops and you should rush out and buy it. It’s a long way from that, if it gets published at all. I’m just explaining why I’ve barely blogged or posted long drunken comments about sod-all. Because I’ve been doing the book in my spare time it’s taken over my life: when I haven’t been working I’ve either been writing, researching, editing, proofreading or thinking about what I’m going to write next. I’ve barely read, played video games or acted like a human being since Christmas.

Are you wondering what it’s about? It’s about 240 pages. Ho ho. It’s – I hope – a fast, funny thriller, and I think it would get on really well with books by Christopher Brookmyre, Tim Dorsey, Carl Hiassen and Robert Crais, or films such as Shaun of the Dead.

I didn’t mention it earlier for a number of reasons. First, I’ve tried to write a novel before. I’ve tried lots of times, and my hard disk is littered with drafts that, if I was lucky, ran out of steam at Chapter Four. I didn’t see the point in mentioning this one until I’d finished it (which I have. Six times. Some writers can sit down and bash out the finished article in a single draft. I’m not one of them, and I’ve benefitted greatly from other people’s input. More of that later, maybe).

Secondly, I know from bitter experience that if editors think you’re busy, they stop offering you work. If anything I’m working longer hours than ever to do the day job, but I didn’t want to take the risk that my wonderful employers might think I’m spending my time dicking about when I should be working.

Thirdly – and while this is weird, it’s true – I didn’t want to tempt fate. The working title is Live Forever, and when I was starting to believe I might just finish this one I became convinced that the universe would find it pretty funny if I died just before I finished it. “Yeah, he died before he could finish his book.” “What was it called?” “Live Forever! HA HA!” “HA HA!” That sort of thing.

So anyway, I’ve written this thing, I think it’s pretty good, and I’m going to postpone having a life outside work for a bit longer as I start the expensive, time-consuming and soul-destroying process of trying to get an agent and trying to find a publisher. I’ve thought about self-publishing, electronic publishing and things like that but the truth is I’m a writer, not a marketer, and that means I need the expertise of a proper publisher. Whether it comes to anything I don’t know, but fingers crossed, eh?

If you’re interested, I’ll blog from time to time about what I’ve learnt so far, what resources I’ve found particularly handy and what progress, if any, I make. And if you’re not, I won’t. And once the letters are written and the manuscripts sent out, I’ll start blogging about bugger-all again.

One thing I’d like to do just now is to say thanks, though: conversations on this blog (and with some of you by email or on Twitter) gave me the kick up the arse I needed to go from thinking about writing to actually writing. Since then I’ve also had invaluable help from Mupwangle, Squander Two and Paul, all three of whom have spent an awful lot of time wading through multiple drafts and spotting the huge cock-ups I’d made when I wrote scenes after a double brandy too many. Even if the book doesn’t come to anything I’ve really enjoyed doing it, and I’m really grateful for everyone’s help.





0 responses to “The first rule of Write Club is: you don’t talk about Write Club”

  1. Is it written in Weegie? Like the Glasgow equivalent of Trainspotting? ;)

    Seriously, congrats in getting it finished. I farted about with short stories when I was younger and I could barely carry a narrative for longer than 10 pages – 250 is a great effort.

    Good luck with finding an agent and selling your book. Just think how proud you’ll feel when you see it on the shelves at a bookstore!

  2. I’ve been an avid reader of Brookmyre for years. I’d be interested in any excerpts you put up.

  3. I say with some confidence that Gary’s a better writer than Brookmyre. I just hope that an agent, a publisher, and the book-buying public realise this.

  4. Was wondering when you’d get round to this. I like how you sneakily fitted it in when everyone just assumed you were busy being a father.

    You sure about that title, though? (Sorry)

  5. Gary

    Heh. Yeah, Mrs B hates the title too. It’ll do for now :)

  6. Congrats, Gary. Several of the bloggers (are you still called a blogger?- at least until you get published?), I’ve followed have had some small success in getting published, I hope the birth isn’t too painful. Nothing like writing a novel to appreciate what an effort goes into great literature, I’ve started mine, but it will be along time (if ever) before anyone sees that!

  7. Andy McGarry

    Look forward to reading it. Fingers crossed for you.

  8. Gary

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I don’t expect to have any more news for a couple of months: average response time to a submission is up to 9 weeks, and that’s just for an agent to say “liked the first three chapters, now I want to read the rest” or to send a rejection. Publishing is many things, but it ain’t quick…

  9. Good luck with it, Gary.

    My experience is that you’ll hear a lot quicker with the instant rejections, one of mine basically broke the laws of physics with their rejections, I’m sure of it.

    In your favour, though, you’ve got a market. They’ll read “like Brookmyre” in 72point type; knowing where to pigeonhole you is always good for them.

    Anyway, on with my second draft.


  10. Gary

    This is the bit I’m not into – up until now, everything’s been up to me. Now I’m reliant entirely on timing and luck (assuming what I’ve done is good enough, naturally).