Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Jaw-dropping internet

I've been spending far too much time on the google maps site lately. For those who don't know, you can visit, click satellite and then view an aerial photo of pretty much anywhere.

For example: The Pyramids. Once the page loads you can drag the map around by clicking and holding your left mouse button. (I didn't realise they'd excavated so much of the area surrounding the pyramids.)

You can zoom right out until you can see the whole planet, then have great fun locating Disneyland, Heathrow airport, your own house (if your area is one of the high-rez images), and anything else you can think of (I've always wondered what the Rock of Gibraltar looked like from the air. Or the London Eye, Meigs airfield in Chicago and the Statue of Liberty.) For example, I found my house and showed my kids an aerial view of the drive to their school, following the roads.

Much fun. Big time waste. Beware.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Yippee on two counts

I got a really nice surprise yesterday: Hal Spacejock is now listed with the big three in Australia! (There are three major bookselling chains in this country, with 70-100 or so stores each: Dymocks, Angus & Robertson and Collins Booksellers)

So, this morning I woke up inspired. After several really tough days on the book (a tough day being one where little happens) I vanished into the bedroom with my laptop and worked from 11am until 11pm, with two breaks for meals. In that time I polished off 95% of the remaining work, leaving one little scene to rewrite tomorrow.

Next up, I'll print the whole thing out (currently almost 90,000 words) and delete one word in 9 to get the thing back to about 80,000. At the same time I'll reword, insert, adjust, trim, rewrite and scribble on every single page.

My goal is to have the draft finished by the 30th so I can stick it in a drawer and forget all about it for two weeks. Then I'll give it another polish and send it in to my editor. Then I'll want a holiday.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Friday, June 17, 2005


Want to motivate yourself to finish writing your book? Try dangling a carrot.

Back in 2002/2003 I wouldn't let myself see Lord of the Rings (Two Towers) at the movies until I'd finished my novel. The film came out in December, and I had to wait until March. That's three whole months until I allowed myself to see the thing!

In 2004 I repeated the dose with the third film in the series. This time I got to see it in February.

I just bought myself a copy of GTA San Andreas for the PC, a game I have been looking forward to for the past 12 months. The packet is sitting in my line of sight, right above my monitor, but I won't open it until I've handed Hal 2 in to my publisher.

It doesn't matter what the carrot is. Use it.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I've mentioned this before, but when I'm writing or revising a book I use my yWriter software. (Over 1000 downloads in the past 7 days - it's spreading.)

yWriter allows you to give each scene in the book a rating, using the following choices: Outline, Draft, 1st Edit, 2nd Edit, Done. In the beginning it's all outlines and you have a lot of work ahead of you. My current novel has 136 scenes in it, and according to my latest work report there are 11 at the outline stage, 46 drafts and 79 at 1st edit. The work report uses a deadline for each stage to show you what you have to complete each and every day - for example, today I have to turn 4 draft scenes into 1st edit.

Now, these ratings are subjective and I've been known to push a bunch of scenes from one rating to the next just to get them off my work schedule. For example, today I went through all the scenes and decided seven or eight of them were more like 1st edits than drafts, thus completing two days work with several mouse clicks. (Then I get on with rewriting the next 3 or 4 scenes, happy that things are moving nice and fast.)

Used properly, you can keep a tight rein on the book. On the other hand, seeing a 3 page list of scenes to be rewritten is almost enough to turn you to film making.

This is the hardest part - I'm currently spending 8-14 hours a day on this novel, and the thought of doing that for the next 3 weeks gives me something to worry about at night. All I can do is nibble away at it, and if promoting scenes above their status is what it takes - so be it.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Writing links

Thought I'd post a couple of highly recommended resources for writers:

Allen & Unwin's Writing Center

Ian Irvine's Guide to Success and Truth about Publishing

No point paying for it when you can get it for free, eh?

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)