Aims, goals for 2020

FICTION
Most of the work in 2020 will be on my #VisionFor2020, #PublishingTwelveBooksAYear. There’s plenty about this elsewhere on the blog. Here’s where I am currently

In addition, I shall be redesigning the paperback cover for DECEIT. I wasn’t happy with the Amazon Cover creator version I used. It looks cheap.
And here it is – done!

NON FICTION
I may begin writing a “How I Published Twelve Books In A Year” book. I have the outline roughly sketched.
I also want to write a “How To Rescue Your Manuscript”, showing how I took old, unworkable manuscripts and made them publishable.

BUSINESSES
To continue as before, with work on the online courses for http://thenovelmakers.com

BLOGS
I shall continue to write blog posts which support the publishing schedule for my #VisionFor2020.

VLOGS

  • Continue with the vlog for updates on my VisionFor2020 #PublishTwelveNovelsAYear
  • And we do need to get on with “Two Writers – One Sofa” in the New Year, with my partner
  • And I have changed my mind on the humourous vlog, because there was a danger it could become uncomplimentary and upset some writers. So I shall be starting a “First Pages Review”, looking at what works, and what doesn’t, in the first few pages of novels. I’ve had one ‘try out’ recording, changed a few things, got a shooting script for the first episode, so I’m ready to record early in the new year.
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Looking back on 2019

This is what I said a year ago: http://gerald-hornsby.com/blog/2019/01/01/jumping-into-2019/
So let’s see how we’ve done.

My Writing
MELTDOWN (apocalyptic thriller): not out yet, but due out on 1st February. It’s currently re-plotted and rewritten, and awaiting my alpha reader. So almost a win.
DECEIT (political thriller): It’s out, and for sale in both paperback and ebook on Amazon. WIN!
Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government-ebook/dp/B082WHN26P/
Pbook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government/dp/1677186909/

SHORT FICTION: My collection of 500-word (and shorter) stories is out and for sale on Amazon. WIN!
Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Dark-Corners-collection-micro-fiction-ebook/dp/B0829D92WR/
Pbook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Dark-Corners-collection-micro-fiction/dp/1671412567/

NON-FICTION: The SaveTheSnowCat is still in progress, although I did complete and publish a Self-Publishing, Pure and Simple guidebook. WIN!
Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Self-Publishing-Pure-Simple-Three-Guide-ebook/dp/B07RPP3X1M/
Pbook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Self-Publishing-Pure-Simple-Three-Guide/dp/1098561392/

My writing businesses
I said last year that we were setting up two writing-related support businesses. They are now both up and running.
http://writer.support
At the Swanwick Summer School, we delivered two one-hour workshops on NaNoWriMo and Self-Publishing, both of which were well-received. Also, and as a result, I was the ’2019 top seller’ in the book room for my writing craft books.

http://thenovelmakers.com
We delivered an introduction to getting your novel published as part of Essex Author Day. We had a full house of 30 delegates, and had lots of interesting conversations afterwards.

Vlogs
I completed an almost vlog-a-day during NaNoWriMo this year, which was part personal update, part sharing of hints and tips from my NaNoWriMo book:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyFWTTA81BpiArggmU0Bupx5QPnkhwQct

I have now started running a vlog on my VisionFor2020 – more of which in the look forward to 2020:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyFWTTA81BpjrELRFcBWjLGi9F40hct2V

And we do need to get on with “Two Writers – One Sofa” in the New Year

Podcasting
The short story podcasting continues, but it’s currently a bit hit-and-miss, as we’re having difficulty getting people together at the same time. Hopefully, in the new year, things will pick up again.
https://www.literaryroadhouse.com

SO, all in all, a busy year. A good year for publishing, and we’re beginning to get our names ‘out there’ for advice on writing and publishing.

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Deceit – how and why?

One of the questions writers get asked a lot is: where do you get your ideas from? I think this is particularly interesting when discussing a novel like Deceit.
The story began as an idea for a idea NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – in 2018. I had been watching news coverage of the civil war in Syria. I was particularly appalled by the indiscriminate killing of civilians, including attacking clearly-marked hospitals in the rubble of cities.
It is a confused picture over there, and no one seems to know who is doing what. The Russians are supporting the Syrian government. There is talk of war crimes, inflicted by the Syrian government on its citizens.
And we, in the UK, tut-tut and shake our heads at this mess of a civil war that seemingly no one can win.
And then I asked the age-old writers’ question: what if?
What if it’s not a Syrian or Russian plane that drops a bomb into a civilian area? What if the real culprit is somewhat closer to home? What are the stakes that someone would need to investigate this?
And slowly, I built up the story. The British doctor, working for Médecins Sans Frontières, in the hospital when it gets bombed. The sister of the doctor, devastated by his death. The friends she would turn to for help when looking into her brother’s death.
The father of the doctor, in government, but coerced into lying to his daughter. Because everyone in government is corrupt, right? Everyone knows the truth, and no one tells the truth.

After NaNoWriMo, the story was a healthy 69,000 words, but it was a mess. It had good bits, but there were plot holes all over the place, there were no character arcs, and there was no redemption scene. And there was no killer twist at the end.
So I took it apart. Like a house that’s been thrown together from a collection of parts. It was a house, but no one would buy it. This was a story, but no one would take time to read it.
So I took all the parts off, kept the good bits, threw the bad bits away, got some new good bits. Then I built a framework, foundations in solid concrete, to build the skeleton of a story. Then I started to hang onto that skeleton the good bits. Most of them fitted okay, some needed a bit of adjustment.
So now I had a story, with a great structure, but it still looked like a collection of parts. So that’s when I set to work. I adjusted them, smoothing out the connections between the parts, reading it through from start to finish, smoothing and painting and adjusting. It was looking pretty good.
Then I gave it to my beta reader – who is someone who reads the novel, sees if the story works, and highlights any inconsistencies as they read.
But they loved the story. They were totally engaged with it, kept turning the pages.
So now it was snagging time. When building a house, there are always bits that aren’t quite perfect. Maybe the paint needs fixing, or the plumbing doesn’t work like it should, or light switches are upside down. So it is with a story. You need fresh eyes, someone who doesn’t have the emotional investment of the author.
I had a professional snagger look at it. Made sure everything was exactly as it should be.
The story is now 67,000 words, but a whole lot better than it was after NaNoWriMo. It’s a different story, with character arcs, tension, backstory, and a sickening realisation for the reader just before the end. And there is redemption.

The first three chapters are uploaded to Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/story/208786264-deceit so you can have a read, and see if the book is for you.

Ebook UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government-ebook/dp/B082WHN26P/
Paperback UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1677186909

Ebook US: https://www.amazon.com/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government-ebook/dp/B082WHN26P/
Paperback US: https://www.amazon.com/Deceit-gripping-thriller-deception-government/dp/1677186909/

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Micro fiction featured!

I’m so pleased and proud. My little 99-word story, based on a prompt of ‘Watching Kettles’, has been featured on Patricia Osborne’s blog.
[ Click here ]
I love tiny stories. It’s not quite a Drabble (which needs to be exactly 100 words), but it’s close.
I hope you enjoy it.

If this is the sort of stuff you like, head on over to Amazon, where I have a collection of short and micro fiction for sale as an ebook for only 99p!
[ click here ]

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Writing Retreat!

Oh my! It’s that time of year again – the time when I and the members of my writing group cast aside the shackles of normal life with its responsibilities and tedium, and head off for our writing retreat.

We spend the best part of four days together, writing, chatting, talking about writing, planning our writing, and generally relaxing in the luxurious surroundings of our own (temporary) manor house in the country!

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Corruption of Innocents

Following discussions with some of my fellow writing colleagues, I’ve decided to pick up a book I initially wrote during the 2015 NaNoWriMo challenge. The title keeps changing, and it’s been “Corruption“, “The Innocents“, and “Corruption of Innocents“. Titles are important to me!

After some back-and-forth, I decided to make this a companion piece to a book I wrote / rewrote for NaNoWriMo last year (2018), which is currently called “Deceit“. It’s been “Deception“, “Ripples” and “Ripples of Deception“. Titles are important to me.

Both novels feature an identical series character, a journalist called Jerry Sanders, although his name may change before these things see the light of day.

Anyway, it’s nice to be able to start pulling some of my thirty-odd Works In Progress together, ready for a scheduled launch in the future.

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100kword100days update

Further to my 2019 goals, I’ve been working on the novel “MELTDOWN”, during the 100kwords100days challenge.

It was going pretty well – it’s more of a rewrite than a first draft. The first draft was written way back in 2013, during NaNoWriMo. The story sort of held together, but there were several plot holes. And the usual mish-mash of character and plot problems. It needed a rewrite.

I was doing quite well, adding and changing words, then got sidetracked into the actual design of the story. Those who know me will understand, as I have a fascination for Story Design (I even wrote a book about it), and I realised with this rewrite that I really needed to go back to first principles, apply my ‘Snowflake‘ and ‘Save The Cat‘ procedures to really get a grip on the story and make it work like a thriller should.

In conclusion, I have 15,000 good words, all in the right places – from the original 47,000 words. And that’s where the story now is. There are more old words that can be imported into the new framework, but for the moment, the project is parked. There are more important, real-life issues to be sorted for now.

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