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.