Meanwhile, over in Starburst…

Reviews are important – and here’s a good one from the friendly folks at Starburst magazine for the Fox Spirit Books anthology Things In the Dark.

Which, as y’all should know, contains my short story Junior Twilight Stock Replacer. Not that I’m bragging, or anything. Except that I am, of course. Aw come on, it’s Friday. If you can’t brag on a Friday, when can you brag?

starburst
Click through to Starburst to see the full review

 

A Singular Sale!

I’ll return to loudly trumpeting the forthcoming release of Heir to the North soon (October 23rd worldwide, fact fans, and available for pre-orders now!) but meanwhile, it’s time to celebrate and buff the knuckles for another reason.

The Singularity - Issue 1.
The Singularity – Issue 1.

The new and rather spiffy magazine The Singularity – details here, on sale here – has taken on my shaggy-dog epic space opera The Day Brockwell Park Stood Still. A galaxy-spanning whirl of first contact, bad puns, and nods to the Culture, all in a bite-size portion, it walks small and thinks big. A bit like The Singularity itself – a magazine that is well worth checking out.

Close to the Edit

Wow, it’s looking a bit old and dusty around here, isn’t it? Sorry about that – as you might imagine, with Heir To The North looming on the horizon like great Leviathan rising to the surface, my attention has somewhat inevitably been focused elsewhere. edit2

The editing process. Now there’s a mystery that sets all authors to trembling with fear. It’s the first time that I’ve had to hand over a full novel-length manuscript to an external editor, and I wasn’t certain what to expect. To make matters more complex, HTTN was written over a couple of years, and my own style changed between the first and last chapters (though not to the extent that I stopped over-writing. Heavens, no).

But now Heir To The North is slimmer, quicker, meaner, and actually a darn sight easier to read. Here’s what I learned during the process.

Change is not a bad thing. Likewise and conversely, editing is not a dictatorial process. At the end of it, your book is still your book. The point is that the writer’s tired eyes may not have seen problems with structure, continuity, verbosity etc. If you thought you were killing your darlings in the second, third (and seventeenth) drafts, then this will hurt a bit (a lot), but seriously it’s worth the pain. For example, here’s something I totally missed on my reads… badwriting1

The editor does not hate your book. Far from it. The editor wants to make your book better, because s/he loves it and takes great pride in their work, just as much as the author does in their own. The trick is to realise that these first two points take your book to the next level.

Weasel words must die. At least, possibly, it seems to be that way.

Not everything has to be described as “old”. Or “great”. Or “great” and “old”. Some of the secondary characters in the book used to belong to Guhl’s Company, a band of Hellean soldiers. In the unedited version of the manuscript, they’re all described with the same phrase: “old soldiers”. When one talked to another, it became difficult to know who was talking to whom…

Make your action more actiony. Yes, really. Joanne Hall talks a good fight over here.
actiony

You are not a columnist for Fantasy Homes & Garden Magazine. This comes back to killing those darlings. It’s all very well lovingly describing Rann Almoul’s town house and the changes he made to it over the years, all to illustrate the man’s avaricious nature, but – really? Did I really need all that? Are we ever going to see that house again? (SPOILER: no.)

It’s easier to fix over-writing than it is to fix under-writing. And in this case a picture eloquently speaks a thousand words…..badwriting2

 

Last, but not least – It’s not all bad. Far from it. Editing doesn’t have to be an attritional process and, indeed, nor should it be. Turns out, see, that I write good. Long, but good.goodwriting1

 

 

Heir To The North, by the way, is scheduled for release around October of this year. If you’re on Goodreads, you can add it to your TBR shelf over here.

Meanwhile, if you want an example of me writing short but good, look no further than the recent release of Under The Waves, the latest in the series of Fox Pockets from the wonderful Fox Spirit Books. My contribution, That Sinking Feeling, is a small but perfectly-formed piece of shaggy-dog fantasy fiction, even if I do say so myself.

Under The Waves

The very excellent Fox Spirit Books have released the fifth in their series of Fox Pocket anthologies this last weekend. Under The Waves is now available in paperback and, very shortly, in electronic formats too.

Under The Waves – Click to Buy!

This is noteworthy because, alongside stories by Den Patrick, Fran Terminiello, Margrét Helgadóttir, Hardeep Sangha, KC Shaw, Emma Maree, JB Rockwell, and Alec McQuay (and that’s not all!), there’s a small tale entitled That Sinking Feeling by little old me.

I might be somewhat biased, but I recommend you go add Under The Waves to your basket right now. And then go find the first four Fox Pockets as well, because nobody likes an incomplete series….

Meet Johnny Silver!

FS9 Evil Genius Guide ebook 72ppi
The Evil Genius Guide, art by Sarah Anne Langton

Or, you will do later next year, when Fox Spirit Books release their ninth Fox Pocket Anthology, The Evil Genius Guide, guest edited by Darren Pulsford, and you read the tale Full Compliance contained therein.

Johnny who? you’re asking right now. 

Johnny Silver. Silverdale’s last, best hope for peace. Lantern-jawed hero with muscles of steel and nerves of steel, in a city of steel. The only man who stands between Silverdale and chaos. Holding back the night with his bare hands and an unlicensed Particle Defibrilation Cage…

I like Johnny Silver. In fact, Full Compliance will only be the beginning. Johnny Silver will return for a series of 15k-ish adventures after The Evil Genius Guide is published, battling such enemies as The Sweet Pike Monster, DJ Enzyme, and the nefarious knitter MetaStitch. I give you fair warning… 🙂