Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A one and a two and a...

After the meeting with the publisher I agreed to approach one or two SF authors to ask whether they would read a pre-release of my book and furnish a cover quote. You know the sort of thing - those snippets they put on the front or back of the book in quotes, like "Not too crappy!" "A moderately well written tale!" and the infamous "I couldn't put it down!" (Yeah - too much double sided tape)

This is fraught with danger. After all, you're approaching respected authors in your chosen genre and asking them to make a public comment on your novel. They won't want their name on a stinker, so you have to ask in the right way, giving them an escape route so that if they think it's a pile of crap they can simply say 'sorry, but I didn't get a chance to read it.'

Working on the principle that it's better to ask three or four people and get one quote, I asked three authors and a reviewer for cover quotes... and they all said they would oblige - if they got a chance to read it, har har.

Oh, and another thing about book one: It's no longer just a figment of my overheated imagination

Amongst all this excitement I finally knocked off the summary for book two. Because my editor has already read & commented on the original edition, this summary is comprehensive (over 14,000 words in this case), so that it addresses every point raised. Most of the changes relate to the WHY of things, and in the new version I get to dream up all sorts of complicated reasons why ... but no, that would give away the best bits!

14k is a lot of words, but it's quicker than me rewriting & submitting one version after another of an 80,000+ word book. As per the first Hal Spacejock title, my editor will send back the summary with comments all over it, I'll read them and apply changes, reworking the plot until we're both happy.

Then I'll sit down and rewrite the book from beginning to end, matching the summary. Or so she thinks. What actually happens is that I get these bright ideas while writing the new version, inserting new gags, embarrassing situations and stuff-ups in between the changes I said I was going to make. This freedom to improvise helps keep the rewrite fresh for me, and while I don't go nuts with this stuff it does make the book better. Eventually.

While I'm waiting for cover quotes for Hal 1 and the editor's response on Hal 2, I've decided to start outlining book 3. Unlike the first two books I still have Hal Spacejock 3 in a yWriter project. (The first two were exported to Word files long ago) Therefore, up until 5 minutes ago I thought book three was more-or-less outlined from when I was planning and writing it. Hah. The entire 'outline' consists of short sentences like 'Hal takes off', 'Hal lands' and 'Hal crashes'. That was okay when I was my own editor, but now it means I've got to start from scratch, reading every scene and summarising it.

Looking forward to it ;-)

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