Thursday, 18 August 2011

Fragments, a.k.a. Henry

I wrote 'Fragments' back in 2008, shortly after writing for the Doctor Who Anthology, 'How the Doctor Saved my Life.'  I was on something of a roll back then and the story, which was called 'Henry' at the time, was accepted for a short story print anthology that was to be published by a Science Fiction website.

Alas, it was not to be.  The website encountered some difficulties and eventually closed, my hopes dying with it.  Looking back it was probably a blessing in cruel disguise.  The shape that 'Henry' was in at the time I would probably have cringed to see it in print.

Anyway it was duly filed away in my documents and all but forgotten about.  Then a year later I stumbled across it, gave it a dust down, tidied up a few passages and sent it off to a couple of online magazines and print magazines.  They all rejected it.  Ouch.  So away it went again, into the folder of broken dreams.

It wasn't until I'd released 'Rose' on the Kindle that I started to think about 'Henry' again.  I knew there was a good story in there, it just needed to be carved out from that rough draft.

I edited without mercy.  I cut the dead wood, the pretty but meaningless passages, trimmed away the fat until it was two thirds the original word count.  Nice and tight.   Then I edited it again, and from the smoking embers 'Fragments' emerged.

The cover image for 'Fragments' is something I'm rather proud of - a Heath Robinson moment, if you like.  I was scratching my head trying to add text to a photograph when it struck me - why not re-shoot the image with the text in it?  That cover is made up of three elements; A4 paper, a blue paperweight and a torch.  Simple but effective.  Okay so my name's a bit wonky, but I think perfection is overrated.


'Fragments' is now available for immediate sampling and sale in multiple ebook formats.  Click on the link to sample now.

And click here to see my Smashwords profile.

Monday, 15 August 2011


Here's my side project, 'Fragments', a sci-fi short story about a poor old chap called Henry. 

Henry's a widower, living alone by the sea, minding his own business when one morning a blue bottle appears
in his bathroom and turns his life inside out.  As one set of memories fragments, another set emerges, but which life is real?

'Fragments' is available for Kindle now, and I'll be posting more over the next few days about the process of writing a short story and getting it ready for digital publication.  Watch this space...

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Side Projects

...are a major distraction.

How do you fit it all in?  Writing a novel, blogging about it, tidying up short stories for potential digital release, keeping up with your reading - books and magazines, day job, oh, and having a life in between.

Answer:  Clone yourself.  No, but seriously, why is life so full of distractions?  Don't know.  But there's always something that needs doing; something that diverts your time away from the thing you should be doing, the thing you want to be doing, the thing that feels like it will never be finished.

I wish I knew the secret, I really do.  All you can do is keep pushing on.  Work out how much spare time you have and divvy it up between the things you have to do and the things you want to do.  Even if it's just an hour a day on your novel at least you'll be moving forward at a consistent pace.  Then slot the other projects in around that.  For example an evening might look something like:

  • 6pm - 6.30pm:  Eat
  • 6.30pm - 7pm:  Read Writing Magazine (for example)
  • 7pm - 8pm:       Write novel
  • 8pm-8.30pm:    Make corrections to novel, or work on side project
  • 8.30pm - 9pm:  Write blog
  • 9pm - Bedtime: Have a life!
Sometimes I try and squeeze 30 minutes in before work - just making corrections to the previous day's word count.  Those are the days when I don't iron my shirt!

Once you settle down to write, try and get into the zone and stay there.  Make sure you have everything you need with you, so that you don't have to keep getting up from your computer or writing desk.  (I have a little fridge in my study now for water and chocolate).  Try and keep that connection between artist and art.  Live the words you write.  Feel them, taste them, smell them.  Get inside your character's head and run with them.  They're the only people who should be distracting you when you write!


Will the graffiti artists get a long sentence? Grammar Man corrects these crimes against the English language, but the L in 'language' should not be in capitals.

Finally, a superhero we can all believe in...Grammar Man!  I hope he keeps a bag of apostrophes handy for all the poor shop signage up and down the country.  And restaurant menus - they're often the worst offenders.

If I have one criticism it's that he's made more of a mess than the original graffiti.  Perhaps in future he could do his corrections in chalk, or now that he's established and in the public conscience, maybe he could sign off with a simple exclamation mark!  We'll know it's you, Grammar Man.

Keep fighting the good fight, innit isn't it !