Friday, August 31, 2007

I love this stuff

I've had a dialup account with a major aussie ISP for the past few years, just as an emergency backup, and despite a couple of half-hearted attempts I've never been able to cancel it. Their automated phone system is the source of several jokes in the Spacejock books, and their website is worse. Example: To cancel my account online they wanted me to register for their feedback system and then give them my credit card so they could charge me for a consultant to process my request.

Anyway, my credit card was compromised a few weeks back so the bank issued a new one. Cue outraged squawk from ISP when they couldn't put through the regular monthly charge.

I emailed back to say I wasn't giving them the new number, and to cancel the account.

I got an email back inviting me to upgrade to broadband. (Something they used to phone me about regularly, even though I have a business broadband account with another supplier.)

I emailed back to say I wanted to cancel the account.

They asked for my credit card to facilitate the cancellation.

I said no.

They said they'd have to send me a bill for the used portion of the month.

I said fine by me. The charge was only $5.95 a month anyway, so how much could a portion be?

I received a nice printed bill for $0.99. (Cost to post bill, $0.50)

I decided to pay using BPAY (online banking) but got an error message: This company has a minimum payment of $1.00

Knowing exactly what would happen next, I debated whether to post them a cheque for $0.99. Then I thought stuff it, they started this and paid their $1 through BPAY. (Cost of processing a BPAY payment, for the recipient, is around $0.80. Cost to me - nothing.)

Today I got a letter from the ISP with a credit for $0.01 (Cost to post the letter, $0.50)

Now I'm wondering whether to ring up and demand a cheque.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Deadline +2

So, what does an author do right after handing in book 4 in their (hopefully) on-going series?

Me, I'm busy plotting Hal 5 in Freemind. I want to get the outline done before Hal 4 lobs back into my lap.


Mental trickery. If Hal 4 is all I have and my editor isn't that keen on it (happens) and sends me a long list of repairs (definitely happens) then my entire writing career hangs in the balance, I'm a failure in the making, etc, etc. However, if I have the next book on the go it gives me a crumb of comfort to cling to. That way, Hal 4 is just another project, not the ONLY project.

Did I mention the whole lack of confidence thing? Authors are steeped in it from birth.

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Answer to my believe-it-or-not

A few days ago I posted a bunch of statements and challenged readers of my blog to guess which were true and which were false.

Without further ado, here are the answers:

All the statements were true.

And the lucky winner is ... M@!

Email me at spacejock (at) gmail (dot) com to claim your book. And well done ;-)

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mainly 28s reviews Hal Spacejock

One from the 'weird-places-to-spot-a-review' department ...

Mainly 28s, the "specialist 28mm wargames review site" has reviewed Hal Spacejock

And the second printing isn't even 28mm thick.

A snippet:

I think the highest praise I can give is that it reminds me of Douglas Adams rather than Terry Pratchett - it's more mature and not as "in-your-face" as Pratchett (who is one of my favourites). I really like Simon's style. The way the whole plot plays out reminds me of my past in sci-fi role-playing (Star Frontiers and that sort of thing) with its twists and Hal's vision of the universe and his place in it. I think that anyone reading Hal's adventures will see a little of themselves in him - I certainly did.

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

Hal 4 is winched onto the slab ...

Ten minutes ago I emailed the manuscript for Hal 4 to my editor, Janet Blagg. After she's read and analysed it (maybe two weeks from now) I'll get a report back with all the major and minor issues she's uncovered. At that stage I'll probably have one week to think about them, and two weeks to implement any changes (including altering the plot, rewriting whole scenes and basically turning the book into something publishable.)

Publication date will be April 2008 - and I'll probably push for the 1st of April, since it'd be an appropriate date in a Spacejockian sense. An April Fool book. Perfect.

Just out of interest, the current manuscript is 101,000 words, but I actually wrote 142,000. One third of the total was cut, chopped and snipped out for not being relevant, funny, exciting or interesting. Before this book goes to print it may well drop to 90,000 or even 80,000 words (as per the previous 3 titles.) As you can see, the finished effort is defined as much by what you leave out, as what you put in.

Do I like the book? I'll tell you when it's really finished ;-)

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

Monday, August 27, 2007

Writer's review of the Hal Spacejock series

You'll find the review here

I'm glad someone noticed the lack of adverbs ;-)

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

Friday, August 24, 2007

Haynes's believe-it-or-not

True or false, you decide.

First person to guess all the right answers wins a signed copy of Hal Spacejock (1, 2 or 3 - your choice.) Just leave your guess in the comments.

1. I never cracked open a Terry Pratchett book until after I'd written the second Hal Spacejock novel, in 2003.

2. I've only seen two episodes of Red Dwarf.

3. I watched the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy TV series in the mid-80's, and haven't seen it since.

4. I've yet to read Hitchhiker's Guide books 4 or 5.

5. I haven't opened a HHG book since the late 80's.

6. I first read the Dirk Gently books in 2007.

7. I haven't seen the original Star Wars films for at least 15 years.

8. I own several of the Stainless Steel Rat books, but haven't read any of them.

9. I own many of the Bill the Galactic Hero books, but haven't even finished the first.

10. I've never finished a Ron Goulart book.

11. I first watched Firefly in November 2006.

12. I saw my first episode of Buffy in December 2006.

13. I still haven't seen any episodes of Angel.

14. I haven't seen a single episode of Star Trek Next Gen (or anything ST since the original series.)

15. I still haven't seen a Star Trek movie more recent than II

16. I have never seen an episode of Babylon 5, Stargate, Alias, Millenium or Heroes.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Author Visit III

Just a short day today - down to the end of the freeway and off towards the coast. The library was very welcoming, and the group was fun to talk to. Most kids here in Australia are very surprised to learn that you could leave school in Spain at the end of year 8, at least when I was studying there. I'm sure half the kids go home to ask their parents whether they can move to Spain.

Afterwards I spoke to a writer who's already put together 180 pages of a novel, and is working on the next. Talented artist, too.

The principal and library staff laid on a nice morning tea, there were plenty of photos and then it was back home to beg my editor for a deadline extension on Hal 4. (I booked all these visits months ago, soon after the Westbooks Night With Our Stars evening. Back then I didn't know I'd be on the final days of my deadline for the next novel. Oh well.)

Anyway, that's me done for Children's Book Week. The Eat 2 and 5 message has been ringing in my ears for several days, I didn't send anyone to sleep and I managed to make all the sessions without any illnesses or other disasters. And now I've started getting enquiries for National Literacy Week from September 4-7. And I just realised that's very, very soon.

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

Author Visit II

Yesterday was the Eastern suburbs of Perth - All the visits took place in public libraries, and a couple of sessions were pretty much 40-45 minutes of full-on questions-and-answers. Always good to have questions - it's better than not-so-subtle yawns.

I often ask how many of the kids have written stories on their own time, as opposed to class-imposed homework, and I often see two or three hands go up. Those are the writers of the future, folks, and it's a shame publishers aren't in there giving out how-to-write books the way engineering and computing firms sponsor and mentor bright kids in those disciplines.

And school librarians ... maybe get in a couple of how-to-write books if you don't already have them. Find out which kids like writing, and become a Giles to their Buffy. Maybe they won't fight real vampires, but they can certainly write about them.

I also spent a quiet hour between sessions at one of the libraries, where I discovered the librarian attended WAIT/Curtin uni during the same years I was there - and also did LLC with June Parsons. We almost certainly attended the same lectures, too. (And for anyone who did English/Library studies/Town Planning or Architecture, my mum used to work out of the office in the Architecture building in the mid-late 80's.)

Has anyone reading this done an author visit? Or hosted an author at your school? Spill the goss in comments, good or bad. (If bad, maybe give the author the benefit of anonymity ... especially if you're talking about me...)

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Author Visit I

I had a great time visiting primary school groups today - I met with several classes from the Northern suburbs of Perth, spoke at length and answered many, many questions. One class even gave me homework - a folder with all the questions I didn't manage to answer during the session! (If any of you are reading this, I promise I'll get to those shortly. I've got another day with more classes in the Eastern suburbs tomorrow and a shorter day way down South on Thursday. I'd probably be heading West on Friday, except I'd end up in the Indian Ocean.)

I think I managed to sign bookmarks for just about everyone, too. Over 200, by my count.

An interesting aside: after one session I spoke to a teacher/librarian who used to work for one of the educational book suppliers in Perth. She told me orders for my books always used to flood in after I'd spoken at a school, which is a good result since I rarely talk about my own books when I do a visit. I usually talk about being a writer, about the publishing industry, and about persisting with your dreams. I also talk about writers and money, which is a popular topic ;-)

Anyway, a big thank you to everyone who attended the sessions, and I hope you got something out of them.

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

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Blog post on author school visits

I've posted my contribution to the SF Novelists shared blog, and you'll find my article on school visits by authors here

(My blog was promptly followed by Kate Elliot's post on The Disposable Woman, which is worth checking out. Commenters include Charlie Stross, Ted Chiang and some of the SF Novelists authors.)

So, check out, read and comment!

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

Monday, August 13, 2007

My snapshot 2007 interview

I was interviewed this morning as part of the snapshot 2007 series, and Tansy Rayner Roberts just posted the result on her blog.

The interview includes details of my involvement with Andromeda Spaceways and also a glimpse of my future plans.

There are many other interviews in the series, so please follow the links at the foot of Tansy's post for more insights into the people behind the Australian speculative fiction community.

(As an aside, why can't blogger manage to accept the first word verification when adding a post to a blog? Is it a time delay thing, or just a bug?)

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

Anything but dead

There's been some chat around the blogosphere recently about the death of short fiction, the decline in the short fiction market and so on. Well, it gives me great pleasure to announce issue 30 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, the australian genre mag the experts reckoned would last about 2 1/2 issues.

ASIM is rapidly closing on some of the longest-lived Australian fiction mags, and more importantly, after five years we've yet to publish a double issue. Good stuff.

It's important to support the genre mags, because aside from exposing some great stories to a bit of publicity they also give new and established writers somewhere to submit their fiction to. Go back half a dozen years here in Australia, for example, and there were only two short fiction magazines left breathing, each of them managing just one or two issues a year. That's partly why ASIM was put together, with six issues a year and 8-10 stories per issue. And accepting subs only via email meant that we were open to writers worldwide, not just those with a cache of stamps.

So, without further ado, here are the details for the latest edition of ASIM. If you've never read a copy you can order a single printed issue OR there's a super cheap PDF edition which is identical to the print issue in every way - except the medium. And a big congratulations to every author and artist we've featured over the past five years - it's been great.

(By the way, I'm editing issue 42. Just thought I'd throw that out there so people can get a submission ready ...)

# - - - - - #

The Editor-in-Chief and his trusty sidekick have done it again!
Andromeda Spaceways proudly brings you ISSUE 30!

Edited by Robbie Matthews and Stu Barrow, this issue gives you:
* Really cool cover art!
* Bucketloads of fiction, including work by perennial favourites Dirk
Flinthart, Kevin Maclean, Aliette de Bodard and many others!
* Poetry! Rayguns! Time Travellers! Recipes!
* What more could you want?! (My beloved leader tells me I've now
used up my year's supply of exclamation marks. Wait – one more!)

For more information, and to get your copy, visit

Full Contents:


My Friend Fishfinger, by Daisy, Age 7 . . David Tallerman
Autumn's Country . . Aliette de Bodard
The Fairytale Cookbook . . Amanda Sichter
Fendraaken . . Kevin G. Maclean
Finding Each Other Again . . Kieran Morgan
Hare Redux . . Simon Petrie
Thyme Machine . . Darren Goossens
Collecting Whispers . . Bren MacDibble
Truckers . . Dirk Flinthart


The Reluctant Orc-Maid to her Swain . . Marcie Tentchoff

Special Features

State of the Art: Rayguns! . . Dirk Flinthart
Devoted Husband, Intrepid Time-Traveller . . Stuart Barrow
Seriatem, Seriatum, Omnia Seriatem . . Ian Nichols

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

Friday, August 10, 2007


If you're on LibraryThing, feel free to drop by and see how many books we have in common.

LT has this new 'also on' connection feature. If you add all your blog links to your profile it can scan your friends & contacts and tell you which of them are on LT. (LJ friends are supported.)

If you're not on LibraryThing, it's a pretty neat way to catalogue all your books. You can add up to 200 for nothing, and after that there's an annual or lifetime membership for a fairly decent price.

Authors: you might like to set up a profile, add your own titles and notify LibraryThing so they add the coveted yellow 'LT Author' badge. When your novels show up on someone's list, if they click your name they'll be able to see your profile page where you've (hopefully) listed links to your website, blog and so on.

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

Thursday, August 09, 2007

KISSing your manuscript

What am I on about? Okay, here's a hypothetical:

It's the first chapter. Your major characters have two items to give to two other characters. One of those characters will become a major viewpoint character who is going to appear throughout the book. The other is a throwaway you'll never see again.

What purpose does that throwaway character serve? None. Is the item delivered to that person important? Nope. Answer: Out they go.

Movies can have a cast of thousands because you get the benefit of facial recognition, but with books the only point of difference is the character's name (make them all distinct) and a dimly-remembered description some pages back. Over-populate at your peril.

So, in the revised version your major characters arrive and deliver an item to another major character. Distractions are avoided, which is very important in the first chapter. Don't forget, your readers don't yet know who the major characters ARE, and if you sling five new people at them they don't know which ones they're going to be following closely.

I always look for unnecessary duplication in my books and I kill it off ruthlessly. Two trips to the same location? Forget it. Two similar characters? Merge them. Four lines of dialogue covering the same ground twice? Make it two. I strive to make every scene fresh and new and interesting, and going over old ground is none of these.

And please don't mention rewrites ... I've just tossed out four chapters from the early part of Hal 4. The new version is much better, but I now have to write all the replacement scenes. Again.

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

New initiative to help Australian authors break into US market

(Apologies if you've already seen this. Reposted from an email.)

They're not hoping for Harry Potter levels of success, but the organisers of a new initiative to connect Australian fantasy and science fiction authors with American and other international publishers expect that it will result in book deals and a higher profile for Australian writers in general.

The project, coordinated by ACT Writers Centre Chair Trevor Stafford, New York Times-bestselling author Garth Nix, renowned editor Jonathan Strahan and award-winning writer Deborah Biancotti, has at its core a print and web promotional booklet that will feature forthcoming books to be published in Australia in the year ahead, writer profiles and contact information for authors, agents and publishers.

In November the booklet will be distributed at several events in New York City, including a reception at the Australian Consulate for key publishing figures. The booklet will also be given to delegates at the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, New York, a significant international industry event which gathers together several hundred agents, publishers, booksellers, librarians and other essential publishing decision-makers and gatekeepers.

"The catalogue will allow us to showcase Australian writers in the genre and we hope will result in book deals with publishers in the United States, United Kingdom and in translation," said Stafford. "Publishing is often about connecting a work with just the right person, and this catalogue will make Australian books much more visible to potential publishers and agents."

The catalogue will cover all forthcoming Australian speculative fiction book-length works that are to be published from October 2007 to December 2008, and will include an appendix for all Australian writers in the genre, whether they are writing novels or short fiction.

The project has been assisted through funding from Copyright Agency Limited and the Literature Board of the Australia Council.

It is being coordinated under the auspices of Conflux, which stages annual science fiction conventions in the nation's capital. Conflux 4 will be held from September 28 to October 1, 2007.

Authors and editors are invited to submit details of forthcoming books or short writer biographies at by August 31, 2007.

The catalogue will be available for download in November.

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

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

ASIM and bookplates

One of my little-known jobs involves maintaining the subscription list for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine - and packing and posting out every issue. (I've just sent issue 30, and given I took over these duties after issue 6 came out, you can see that's a lot of posting and packing.)

So, that explains the Hal Spacejock bookmark subscribers receive with every issue ;-)

Apart from sending copies to individuals I also mail the bulk orders to shops, and when I sent this latest mailout I included a handful of signed Hal Spacejock bookplates. These went to Galaxy, Pulp Fiction, Infinitas, Fantastic Planet and White Dwarf (all in Australia), so you might want to put your name down for one if you like that sort of thing.

On a similar note, if you happen to have an Andromeda Spaceways subscription and you like the idea of a signed Hal Spacejock bookplate, just drop me an email in time for the next mailout and I'll include one for you.

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

Speaking up on Crazy Tuesday

Yesterday I received a last-minute invite to the Crazy Tuesday show on Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio (Thanks, EM Sky!)

Anyway, the show airs from 10am on the first Tuesday of every month, and 10am in the states is 10pm here in Western Australia. I finally managed to get microphone + headset + skype working just after midnight my time, and a lively discussion ensued. (I think there were 5 or 6 authors on the line at the same time, but everyone was very polite and willing to let others speak.)

I also revealed one of many obscure jokes buried in Hal 1 which nobody has spotted yet (or if they have, they've yet to email me an Aaaaarrrgghhh!)

I'd certainly be happy to appear again, and if it does look like happening I'll give plenty of advance notice so folks can listen to the loon behind the Spacejock books.

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

Monday, August 06, 2007

SF Novelists

I belong to a group of SF/F/H authors gathered under the SFNovelists banner, led by Tobias Buckell of Crystal Rain fame.

The original idea was to have a list where newly published authors could share horror stories, er, make that 'talk about their experiences working with editors, agents and publishing houses'. More experienced authors joined the list (some of them very experienced, with many books in print) which made it all the more useful.

Since then SFNovelists has grown in several ways, and the latest innovation is the SFNovelists site, where you'll find a communal blog, recent news items on member authors, upcoming releases and so on. It's a great central location to access a whole lot of writers, and I recommend you take a look and perhaps even bookmark it.

EDIT: Which authors belong to SFNovelists?

Charles Coleman Finlay, Tobias S. Buckell, Jim C. Hines, Jay Lake, Sandra McDonald, Mike Brotherton, Tim Pratt, Daniel Abraham, Karin Lowachee, Joseph Nassise, Chris Dolley, Karen Miller, Scott Lynch, Steven Savile, Nalo Hopkinson, Simon Haynes, Kristine Smith, Timothy Sanders, Joshua Palmatier, Jim Hetley, Greg Frost, Chris Roberson, Ilsa J. Bick, Barth Anderson, Cherie Priest, Jeff VanderMeer, Marie Brennan, S.L. Farrell / Stephen Leigh, Naomi Kritzer, Kelly McCullough, Mindy Klasky, Lyda Morehouse, Tate Hallaway, Martha Wells, Marjorie M Liu, Brandon Sanderson, Hal Duncan, Sean Williams, David Forbes, Sam Butler, Tanya Huff, Fiona Patton, Paul Crilley, Eleneanor Arnason, Maria V. Snyder, Chris Barzak, Paul Melko, Leah Cutter, Alma Alexander, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Kate Elliott, Sarah Prineas, Kat Richardson, Jenn Reese, Michelle Sagara, John Levitt, David Louis Edelman

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

Uncovered during the rewrite

I had a series of scenes in Hal 4 where a major character was a bit of a spare wheel. (Relax, no spoilers here.)

This character wanted to help during a major crisis, but nobody needed the character's assistance. So, the character went off and fiddled around for three chapters while the others got on with things. I wanted to make the character feel lonely, isolated, unwanted. Maybe I did, but it made for poor reading and no tension.

Why? Because when disaster hit and the others came to ask for help, the character had no real involvement. It's a bit like an emergency worker waiting for a call-out - they know all kinds of bad things are happening out there, but until they're personally involved it's just stories from the pages of a newspaper.

So, how to fix this? I'm rewriting so that this major character will be involved in the crisis from the very first minute. The character is going to direct the whole thing, ordering the others around and taking complete control over the situation. Then, when things go wrong, the character is right in the thick of it.

Aside from being in the midst of the interesting parts, I can also build the character's emotions up - joy at being needed, the pride of performing a job well, etc. That makes the fall much harder .. and good plots are all about hard falls, not moping around for chapters on end.

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

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Whole bunch of reviews

Reviews are like buses: you wait around in vain for one, and as soon as you decide to walk home a whole bunch of them run you over.

Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus has not one, but two reviews of Hal Spacejock Second Course. From the first review:

This "second course", then, while it offers much to entertain the reader, also manifests a slightly bitter undertaste that makes the amusement of the narrative the more delightful.

And from the second review:

As with the first, I liked the balance of humour and action within the narrative, giving the reader a story that they are interested in the outcome of, not merely to serve as an obligatory backdrop for the comedy [... ] readers who enjoyed Hal Spacejock (whatever the reason for reading in the first place) will enjoy the second helping. The book is very faithful to the theme and style of the first and fans of the characters will be finding themselves laughing away once more at their (mis)adventures.

You'll find the reviews here. (Minor spoiler warnings for the first one.)

EM Sky of the Mind Unbound newsletter just posted a review of Hal Spacejock Second Course.

Book two in the Hal Spacejock series by Simon Haynes is as good as the first. Maybe better. I know what you're thinking: "No way! Even better?" Indeed.

Read the full review here

Finally, Fiction Focus is a reviewing journal published three times a year by the Western Australian Education Department. It's a selection and buying guide for secondary schools and other institutions serving teenagers. And, according to my publicist, their latest edition contains a 'great' review for Hal Spacejock Just Desserts.

I'm very glad the Hal Spacejock series is finding an audience in high schools. When I were a lad, we were lucky to get a couple of Clarkes and a dusty old Gollancz yellow jacket in the school library. Youth of today don't know how good they have it ;-)

As soon as I get a copy of the review I'll post more.

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

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Oddest phone call I've had for a while ...

My nine-year-old daughter just called from my mum's, where she's having a sleepover. The conversation ended up something like this:

Me: "What's up? Having a good time?"
"Great. So, we'll see you tomorrow then."
"On Linux, should I use Microsoft Java, SUN Java or default?"
"This website wants to know which java plugin to use. I always choose the SUN runtime at home, but Nanny's PC is showing Default."
"Errr, yeah."
"I tried Microsoft but it took ages to load and then crashed."
"You got that right."
Me: "Maybe try Sun."
"And I want to use the Gimp, but there's no icon in the start menu. Do I have to run it through the terminal?"
Me: "Ummm, yeah. Type gimp then press tab and hit enter."
Her: "Okay, seeya."

Half an hour later I get an email from her:

Her: "ive made an animated pic.... but how can i put it on my webpage from here??"
Me: "Send me an email with an attachment and I'll upload it for you."

Modern generation, eh?

The email just arrived, and so Flippo the animated bird is presented below for your viewing pleasure. (I've also added a guinea pig she did a few weeks ago.)


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

Late night, end in sight

I was up 'til 1am yesterday (or is that today?) bashing out words for Hal 4. It's rare for me to write after 8 or 9pm, but I was into the climactic ending and couldn't stop. Didn't want to stop, to be honest.

Anyway, it rushed and rushed and I ended up with around 5,000 words, and the great thing about writing a slab in one hit is that it's all fresh in your mind - you don't forget things, and the writing is closer to second draft than early feel-in-the-dark work.

After (another) late night, I had to get up at 7am to take my youngest to school, and today I'm hoping to knock off the very last unwritten scene. (Not the last in the book. This one's around chapter 29 of 32.)

And if there's such a thing as a candle with three ends, I'm burning it. I've been up well after midnight all week, and still have to get up at 7am for school. Pity the night-owl parents, for they have no rest.

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

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I love it when a plot comes together

You hear athletes - and particularly marathon runners - talk about breaking through the pain barrier. Well, I reckon the same thing applies to writing a novel. Writing the last 10-20% involves more work than the first 80-90%, and there does come a time or three when you feel it's all become too much.

One problem I have is that I often end up with chunks of existing writing which I'm having to rewrite to fit into the plot as it now stands. Facing 2000 words of text in which the wrong characters say and do the wrong things to a version of the plot you discarded two months ago is not my idea of fun. However, if I break the 2000 word scene into the smallest possible units and tackle them one by one, it's much easier. I mean, how hard is it to rewrite a sentence or a paragraph?

Another issue is the drag of That Which Has Gone Before. Usually, multiple versions of it. Deep down I know I'll tidy it all up during the second draft, but at this stage my mental picture of the novel is that of 100+ dimly-remembered scenes, some of which have long since been discarded.

(That's a very good reason not to start rewriting until you get to the end of the first draft. Going through the book with all the later events more-or-less clear in your mind allows you to emphasise bits of the plot which foreshadow the ending, and submerge - or cut - the rest.)

Anyway, I can see the end now and the pain isn't as bad as I thought ;-)

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