Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

Today, writers all over the planet are giving away a piece of their work completely free, as a protest against an ill-conceived article claiming that ALL writers who put their work online for free are some kind of techo-scabs reducing the earning power of legitimate authors.

My contribution is the first chapter of a YA-oriented novel I started on between Hal Spacejock 1 and 2, way back in 2001. The novel is called the Golden Lyre, it's a space opera, and you can download and read chapter one from here

You may share the chapter with friends, family and others as long as there's no commercial gain, but you can't post the contents or the file online. Please refer people to my blog post instead.

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hal 4 - Plot Done

Okay, I've just finished combining all my plot junk into a brand new yWriter project. (In the end I wrote an importer which took my text file full of paragraphs and created a fresh scene from each one, using the whole para as the long description and the first sentence of the same para for the short scene title.)

I decided to program the importer for 3 scenes per chapter, then ran it. Imagine my surprise when the finished chapter count ended up at 33. All three Hal Spacejock books to date have had exactly 32 chapters, and the funny thing about this one is that 3 scenes (1 chapter) are just markers for the start, middle and end points. I removed those and my plot outline came out at exactly 32 chapters. It's a sign, I tell you.

Now, bear in mind I still have two folders on my hard drive - one is Hal 4 2005 and the other, Hal 4 2006. Each contains a substantial, but unfinished, draft of the book with very different plots and totally different characters. My job now is to start writing Hal 4 2007 and only take bits from those earlier efforts which fit this one. Everything else will be thrown into my spare parts folder.

So, do I like the new plot? Yes I do. My only concern is that the event which drives the major plot story doesn't occur until several chapters have passed. But hey, I've never claimed to be part of the SMS generation. I even enjoyed the first hour of Peter Jackson's King Kong.

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

Monday, April 16, 2007

Freelance editing

The editor who worked with me on the first three Hal books, Janet Blagg, has started a new freelance business. Anyone requiring editorial assistance should head over to her website for more information.

Actually, you should have a peek for another reason: I designed and implemented the site as a big thank-you to Janet for her work on Hal Spacejock. I reckon it came together quite nicely, and the site ain't too bad either. (Boom boom.)

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


Back when writing was just a bit of fun (that'd be before I got a publishing gig) plotting was something I'd tried and discarded as a devious kind of torture. I tried writing a novel to a plot a couple of times, and it was like memorising the screenplay of a movie before sitting down to watch it for the first time. Every twist, every turn laid out like the guts of an expertly dissected frog.

Where's the fun in that?

Well, one thing plot-haters soon learn is that their carefree and wasteful writing methods don't fit the commercial publishing model. If you have a deadline to meet, you can't spend eighteen months writing fun scenes just because they caught your fancy.

But how many second, third or fourth books have you read which didn't capture the fun and excitement of an earlier title by the same author? Ever feel a book was rushed out to meet a particular timeslot? Or that the plot was agreed to early on, and subsequently served as a strait jacket for the author?

I'm stitching my own strait jacket right now - I have an eight-page outline for Hal 4 which I've been revising and tweaking for some weeks. The idea is to have this comprehensive document I can discuss with my editor. (That's 'discuss' in the way that the English and French discussed Agincourt.)

I only hope that when I start writing I discover my dissected frog has a second heart, nine limbs and an electronic brain.

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

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Andromeda Spaceways issue 28 available

Issue 28 has (finally) left the launch pad.

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue 28, edited by Zara Baxter, is now available.

Why finally? Issue 28 has changed places in the publication schedule TWICE. Originally slated to be released as issue 26, then 27, this glorious issue was munched up by the space/time continuum and has only now been spat out! At last you can read the wonderful works filling this issue, which include:

Grace . . . Ian McHugh
Sweet Potato Woman . . . Chris Barnes
Polish . . . Kaaron Warren
Rest Stop . . . Marissa K Lingen
The Dark and What It Said . . . Rick Kennett
The Eradicator . . . Ben Cook
The Bluebell Vengeance . . . Tansy Rayner Roberts
House In Love . . . Gail Kavanagh

Special Features
This is How the World Ends — Not with a Bang but with a Rip . . . David Clements
The Art of Balance — Interview with Trudi Canavan . . . Gillian Polack
Retro-Review . . . Ben Cook

With cover art by Daryl Lindquist, issue 28 is available in Print or PDF from NOW. Don’t miss out, remember PDF availability is strictly limited!

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