Proofs Have Arrived!

Ladies and gentlemen, proofs have arrived for the paperback of A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend! They’re almost all gone, too; because as soon as they arrived, various family members began to claim title to them. (Actually, I went a bit crazy a la Ophrah: ‘You get a book! You get a book! Everybody gets a book!‘)

So if anyone wants me, I will be sitting in my writing chair with my remaining proof, and gloating. Also, pics!

Book Proof 1 Book Proof 2 Book Proof 3

In Appreciation of Jon Bokenkamp

blacklist

As you may or may not remember, I have written about different approaches to writing: ie, pantsing, planning, outlining, etc. No two people are exactly the same, and there is no ‘one size fits all’. (There isn’t with clothes, either, but try and convince the clothing industry of that.)

So, what does that have to do with Jon Bokenkamp? Patience, grasshopper.

Not only are there different approaches to writing, there are different styles of writing. There are writers who focus on exposition, and others who focus on dialogue. There are those who rock the stream-of-consciousness thing (think Patrick Ness) and those who absolutely own the grand fantasy with it’s fully realised history/language/quest/thing (yeah, I’m looking at you, Lord of the Rings).

And no, that’s not what I’m going to talk about, either. So if I’m not talking about approach or style, what am I talking about? And what does it have to do with Jon Bokenkamp?

Allow me to get to the point. Besides approach to writing and style of writing, there is another point of difference for writers. That difference is whether you are primarily a character-driven writer or primarily a plot-driven writer. If you’re lucky, or if you work really hard, you can be both; but it’s uncommon enough for me to find such a writer that when I do find one, they immediately spring into my Fluid Top Three Writers category. (Think Kate Stradling, for instance, one of the best indie authors I’ve ever read.) I’m a character-driven writer mostly. I’ve had to work very hard to become so, and I worked myself so hard because I like to read and watch things that are character-driven. Don’t get me wrong: I love a clever plot-line. But if that clever plot-line has no interesting/engaging characters, I’ll lose interest.

This is where I get to my appreciation of Jon Bokenkamp. I started watching The Blacklist primarily because the TV ads appealed to me. They looked cool, amusing, and interesting. Also, James Spader is a great actor. What kept me watching it, however, was a single, great character. Jon describes The Blacklist as a ‘chosen one’ storyline, which interested me very much, since Red isn’t the sort of character one immediately thinks of as a mentor-figure (yeah, take that, Yoda), and since until I heard him say that, I had thought of The Blacklist as primarily Red’s story.

At first it was all about Red for me. But Jon didn’t leave the characterisation at just one cool, fully realised character. He built the others up as well. Lizzy started growing, Cooper developed layers, and even Ressler, who I initially disliked because he seemed to be there simply as the scowling pretty-boy, began to get interesting. As a writer who appreciates characterisation more than almost anything else in a story-line, I found myself delighted.

Now, if The Blacklist had been merely about the great characters, I would have enjoyed it anyway. There are so many little conversational touches used to advance the characterisation; so many implied, unspoken moments that speak to motive and feeling. It’s a beautifully, beautifully done show.

The thing is, it doesn’t stop there. The plot lines (and especially the plot-line for The Freelancer, which I greatly enjoyed) are amazing. There are times when, watching The Blacklist, I find myself grinning like an idiot and saying: “Oh, that’s brilliant!” I don’t want to put down any of the actors (they do a fantastic job) but most of the time, that reaction is purely from the writing of the episode. As a writer myself, there are things I’ve learned from watching The Blacklist that I never expected to learn.

In closing, I’d like to say that Yes, I do know that Jon Bokenkamp is not the only writer for The Blacklist. To all of the writers I could find listed on the internets- you guys are doing an amazing job. But mostly I want to express my appreciation to Jon Bokenkamp, whose writing and direction have taught me things about writing I didn’t realise could be learned from screenwriting.

Also my disappointment that Jon isn’t fifty-odd with a huge beard, cos I kinda expected that.

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things (Or, Post-Publishing Blues)

TimeTravellers (No subtitle)

So I’ve finished my first, (self)published ebook (gratuitous Kindle link and gratuitous Kobo link to same).

There was a big sort of scuffle toward the deadline, when I seemed to be writing during every lunch break at work, then rushing home to write feverishly every evening until bedtime. After the writing there was the editing, and after the editing came the formatting. Then there was the realisation that Kindle and Kobo take a little longer to upload books than I had fully grasped. All in all, it was a big rush, scramble, and heave to get over the finish line in time.

Then, the day after I uploaded A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend to Kindle, I was uploading it to Kobo. The same day, I was researching how to upload it to iBooks and making preparations for a CreateSpace paperback copy. That kept me busy for the next few days.

Came the weekend, and suddenly I was at a loss. Somebody should have warned me about this. There’s a gaping hole somewhere around my middle that isn’t because I need to eat (doesn’t mean I’ll say no to those doughnuts, though) and I don’t seem to be able to settle to anything. The other book is done, finished. But I can’t seem to get right into my old WIP again, despite the fact that I know where I want it to go, what I want it to do, and exactly who my characters are. And let’s not even get into the usual stresses of “Why isn’t my book selling more than a few copies? I’ll press the refresh button again: that’ll do it!” or the continual jumping back and forth between book pages in the vain hope that somebody has reviewed your precious ebook in the five minutes since you last checked.

I’ve decided I’m gonna take it easy. I actually got to read a couple new books over the weekend, and managed to do a bit more work on a book I’m critiquing for a friend. Sometimes it’s good to have a break. Also, there are a few more seasons of 24 to catch up on, so there’s that. Only now I’m kinda feeling like I could actually work on my WIP after all . . .

Oh well. Who needs a break, right?

(Self) Published At Last!

Well, A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend (Vol. 1) is now up for sale on Amazon. It’ll be a couple of days before it becomes available on Kobo, iBooks and B&N, but it’s getting there. Now to persuade Amazon that when I selected a $2.99 price point, I did in fact want a $2.99 price point and not a $3.50 one . . .

Oh, and also to try not to check my sales every two hours.