Finding A Title

A book can live or die by it’s title like it does by its cover. Many readers will say that they dont judge a book by it’s cover but let’s face it, we all do it. I also believe that we do the same with the title of a book. When I’m in a bookshop I look along the shelves and see all the spines of the books and all there is the authour and the book title. I have brought more then one book just by the title because it’s caught my attention. Naming a book is a real weak point for me, thankfully Owen is pretty good at it so for our joint projects I just tend to let him roll with what he comes up with. It’s very important, the title of a book. It has to grab attention and make the reader think ‘Damn that sounds good!’ and in this growing age of the ebook I think book titles will play an even more important role in grabbing the readers attentions.

So how can I find the knack for naming my work? I know the name should come from the story and when it comes to some of my short stories I seem to have hit the nail on the head. In these cases though the title has seemed very obvious, now that I think it I’m not as bad as naming my work as I thought. A title though has to represement the story, or at least part of it as well as making us take the book off of the shelve.

There’s also having an overall title if we are writing a trilogy or a series of books. Scott Sigler has his Galactic Football League series, Dan Abnett has his Gaunt’s Ghosts and J.K. Rowling has the Harry Potter books. Owen and I have Project Phoenix, which originally would have been a four book series including a prequel and we had many discussions about and overall title for the series but we never settled on anything and as long time readers will know Phoenix is in stasis at the moment until we come around to rewriting it. We also have our Project Apollo works which will come under one title banner for all the works in that series. It will give a familiarity for the reader, if they like the stories then they will see them banner and pick it up (hopefully).

This is one of those marketing things that writers nowadays have to consider. We need to have our work scream out from the shelves, or Amazon, or wherever you may browse for your books. Especially if we are indie authors. We need to get the readers attention, to spike their interest so they pick our book off the shelve, or to click the preview link on an online outlet.

A Story In Limbo

After I put up my last post a friend of mine asked me what’s happened to Project Phoenix, and I basically said that it’s already a completed novel hat me and Owen have spoken about but it’s a long way off.
There are a number of reasons why the biggest of which is that me and Owen both have other stories that have not been told yet. Phoenix is the first thing that me and Owen ever wrote and although we have a strong belief that the story is a strong one none of our characters share that strength, nor does the world that we have created. We have both tried to reboot it a number of times to make it the story that we both want it to be, but I think that we both got tired of it and branched off into other projects. This has not been a bad thing in my opinion for both me and Owen have grown as writers and for Project Phoenix to be what we want it to be we both need to learn so much more. There is a strong military element to the story so I need to learn about the military more then I do now. I want to read a lot more military sci-fi so I know what others are doing and to inspire my own work. I also want to read some true life military writings. I’ve already read Sniper One by Sergeant Dan Mills which I found fascinating a well as Colonel Tim Collins autobiography which I also found a good read.
This story will not leave my head, each day that goes by I think of another little bit that will help the story. The protagonist in the story has no real growth, neither does the lead female character. The support characters are weak and often carbon copies of each other and definitely lack depth. We also had too many characters in the story which neither me or Owen were able to structure so that the story did not get flooded with useless characters. As I think about it we had six primary characters and thirty secondary. I have no idea why we had so many named characters but I guess that’s just an example of inexperience.
One day me and Owen will re-write this story, but that day is some way off. We want to write this story with the strength and skill that it deserves.

A Little Shattered

I’m closing in on the end of my working week now.¬† I work five and a half day week which means I clock off at 1pm tomorrow, one of the perks of the new job ūüôā¬†¬†After that It’s proper chill out time but I am planning on making some time to read as well.

I was thinking about Project Delphi today when an idea for what will be my NaNoWriMo¬†project popped into my head.¬† I had my hands full at the time so I couldn’t make a note of it but thankfully writing about it has reminded me what it was, be right back…………..Done ūüôā¬† If this idea makes it into the story then it will be a turning point for one of the characters and a key moment in the story.

Project Phoenix has been jumping¬†in and out of my head recently and It’s kind of becoming an annoying thought that keeps evolving and taking itself down avenues that I am reluctant to follow but deep down¬†I know¬†I should.¬† At the moment this book is sitting in the corner waiting for attention but both me and Owen are working on our other projects but I think there is still the¬†desire to tell this story so maybe one day.¬† I do think that I need to have more experience to do it justice.

Now I’m off to bed because I’m tired, I know I’m tired because my spelling has gone out of the window!


End Of Week Update

The fiction front has been rather lax¬†this week.¬† I’ve written I guess at most 500 words but aside from 2 days I have written¬†almost everyday this week.¬† My Girlfriend Tracie¬†is off to visit her sister in Wales for a couple of weeks so I’m going to focus on work and my writing in that time.¬† Seeing as my car has died and I don’t have the cash to fix it I will have plenty of time at home to¬†watch Futurama¬†and procrastinate on Facebook¬†write. ¬†I do still have edits to do and I am still in between projects so I still feel like I’m in a little limbo.

Owen has not got back to me on the project we’ve been working on for almost a year now.¬† We’re in the editing stage but I havent started writing my notes because Owen wanted to read through it before I did, I’m still waiting…………………

A couple of other projects are progressing slowly but mainly these are little ideas which are popping into my head.¬† I think I have solved a major¬†minor problem on Project Phoenix, but I don’t¬†think that we’ll be doing any serious work on that for at least eighteen months, more likely two years.¬† Me and Owen have Project Apollo in the early stages and I have my own projects that I want to dive into as well.¬† There is also NaNoWriMo¬†to start thinking about, it’s not far away now people, better start thinking about some of the research that I need to do.

On Sunday I am going to get stuck into finishing that story I’ve had edits on, I am determined to finish this edit¬†Sunday so if you see me on Twitter or Facebook feel free to tell me to go and do some editing ūüôā

An Update

I was being a bit of a geek the other day and looking into the Transformers time lines on Wikipedia and it got me thinking about time lines of what I write.¬† At the moment I have my¬†Vampire short story series, Project Apollo and Project Phoenix that all have quite a lot of time details to work with.¬† My Vampire stories were originally meant to be set up so it was same universe and the odd character would be in multiple stories here and there but it’s turned into a series where one character in particular has taken the reins of the series.¬† So I have had to alter how I am setting these stories up a little.¬† I still want them to generally be stand alone stories in the way that the reader does not need to read them in any particular order, or all of them, but reading them in order will, hopefully, make the universe and all in it a stronger and more fulfilling reading experience.¬† To make this work though I have to know and make sure that the time lines tie in properly.¬† If story one does not tie in with story four then the whole series will fall apart.¬† I’m thinking of putting these stories into a collection as opposed to trying to get them printed individually, but that’s for another post.

With Project Apollo me and Owen need to make sure that what we write now in the universe ties in properly with how we want Apollo to go.¬† Let me just say that at the moment we only have a rough out line for Apollo, and the story that we are working on at the moment happens after Apollo and involves the major characters from Apollo, albeit¬†in a minor way,¬†so we have to be thoughtful of that as we’re working on this smaller story because Apollo is¬†the bigger story.

As for Project Phoenix that universe has a potential time line that spans across several decades, so it has a lot more to work into it.¬† That’s a long way off being re-written though.¬† I’ve got to re-read this story and see if it can be saved, I’d like to think that me and Owen will be able to resurrect¬†it one day but we have Project Apollo and all the universe that is set in on our minds and I also have so many projects of my own that I’m working on.¬† So Project Phoenix may have to wait for its resurrection.

This Weeks Simple Target

This week I am aiming for quite a small goal and that is to finish the book that I am reading. Christopher Stocking’s ESTRA. Corp I am proper enjoying this novel but due to circumstances of the last seven days I haven’t been able to wrap the novel up. I’m well past the half way point of the story now and I’m itching to get to the end of the story.

I am waiting on Owen getting back to me about one of our projects that we’ve hit a roadblock on so I may delve into that and try and wrap it up. Owen also suggested that as we are very happy with the ending of Project Phoenix that we should work backwards from it and build the story that way.
I have three other stories that are roaming around my head at the moment as well. Nothing really big about those three but some details, world building bits like I’ve mentioned before.

Finding Insperation And What Influences Our Creativity

For my birthday my girlfriend got me a number of DVDs most of which are best described as gritty British Gangster/Football Hooligan films, so I have spent the week watching theses¬†films and they have got me thinking about how I am writing my own fiction. I guess this comes under ‘How the world around us influences our work’ but this doesnt¬†mean that I am going to write a story set in one of these worlds. I don’t¬†have that deep knowledge of these worlds but it gave me some good little ideas about dialogue, character building and the look and feel of a story. These Films are Green Street, Snatch, Rise Of The Footsoldier and The Football Factory. Throw in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels then you have some half¬†decent films that look at a world in which series people operate and although some of it is rather humorous at times these are very powerful films.
Movies generally give me plenty of places to find. Avatar gave me more ideas than¬†I could share here and the beginning of the film 127 hours have me an idea involving a wind turbine. So it’s not just the sci-fi films that spark an idea. For me I think it’s a case of seeing something that triggers an image in my head that I can then write a story around, or a scene at least, around what has sparked the idea.

I’ve talked about how some of the¬†music that I listened¬†to in my younger days has had a lasting effect on me and my writing so I’ll spare you from repeating myself, but it’s mainly¬†an effect of liking¬†the things that may be hiding in the shadows, the unknown world which is created by our imagination.¬†¬†¬†¬†Two¬†songs that truly inspires me to write¬†are Birthright by Celldweller and Written In The Stars by Tinie Temper.¬† Both these songs make me want to write every time I hear them.

Obviously books are quite a strong source of inspiration¬†for me.¬† Scott Sigler is a very big influence as is Dan Abnett and Joe Haldeman, but the writer that really hooked me with their novels and got me reading was Tom Clancy,Rainbow SixandWithout Remorseare two of his books that I am especially fond of.¬† As someone in my late teens and early twenties who had never really¬†read anything I was blown away by what Clancy wrote and I pretty much read just his work for a good three or four years.¬† I suppose this is why Project Phoenix is quite heavily military because that’s what I was reading at the time of starting the novel.¬† Going back to Sigler¬†for a moment though I’d just like to say that he properly inspires me to because¬†he had to work very hard to get where he is today and I think he is a great example to anyone that has a dream that they are chasing.

I try to take something from all the¬†movies and books and music and television¬†shows that I watch and also the odd video game that I play.¬† It’s hard for me to pin down just¬†how all these different mediums influence and inspire my writing but I think that each and every one of these does in different ways.

What inspires you?  How does the world around you influence how you write?

Cutting The Words

Something that I have heard lots of writers talking about is shaving hundreds, maybe even thousands of words from their first drafts.¬† Now maybe this is something that I wont experience until I’ve got another novel written or I have something being considered by an editor, but up until now I’ve never gone over a work of mine to just cut words out.¬† It just feels like an alien concept to me as where I am now as a writer it feels like most of what I write does serve a purpose to the story.¬† I know¬†edits need to be made ot first drafts but I rarely look to reduce the overall word count.

In the original draft of Project Phoenix there is a lot of dead words that would need cutting.  If I remember correctly Project Phoenix topped out at about 106,000 words and we knew with that draft we would need to cut it down to about 70-80, 000 words but before we started we realised that it was, well crap to be honest, which is why it will be re-written when me and Owen have a little more experience.

So a question that I would like to pose here is this: if I write a novel do I need to aim to write about, lets say 20,000 words more then the novel actually needs?¬† If its a 80, 000 word story do¬†I need to write a 100,000 word story and that 20%?¬† Or is it a case that I’ll need to cut, or maybe add words to suit the publishers idea of how many pages are needed?