Friday, November 28, 2008

NaNoWri... oh whatever, it doesn't matter now!

Yup, 50,000 passed by at around 11.30pm on Friday. I have written 50,000 words in four weeks. At times I didn't think I would make it, but here I am, with a (very) rough draft of my second Old Testament Space Opera.

Sadly I may not be able to blog for a while; I have to dig the kitchen out from under the dishes and various furry things I don't think have names.

But I guess I have to keep the momentum going, so I'll be back in my writing chair after a couple of well earned days off.

Thursday, November 27, 2008



I can taste victory from here!

That extra chapter has just taken off in a big way. I am too tired and achy to continue now, but nothing short of the Rapture is going to stop me finishing before bed tomorrow. I am a man on a mission!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


It should be getting easier now: the finish line is in sight, less than 5000 words away, but rather than sprinting for it, I find myself wading through treacle. The problem is that the story is basically finished. In fact, I was writing the plot so sketchily and so quickly to start with, that it ended at about 14k; I managed to add a twist and get the next act under way, but ran out of steam again about 30k later. The last few days I have just been padding some scenes out, occasionally cheating a little, desperately clutching for an extra word wherever there is one to be found.

There is an epilogue, summarising a sub-plot which suggested itself too late in the process to go back and add in without completely reinventing the timeline and rewriting from the ground up. I could easily make the word count that way, but time no longer allows for it.
There is another scene I would like to have put in earlier, so I might add that either in sequence (although it will make no sense), or as an epi-epilogue, so that I can use it properly when I rewrite.

Yep, that’s right: when I rewrite. Before mid-October I had no real intention of writing this story at all, but now it’s done, I can see the potential in it. It needs a lot of work to beat it into any kind of shape, but right now I think it might be worth doing - later.

Much later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obituary: Aidan Qqayle, a leader and a Follower

Aidan Qqayle, preacher and United Colonies leader, has died this week aged 68 Standard Years.

A dedicated Follower of the Creed and much respected man of God, he fought the establishment of the Eight Nations Space Agency until he was called by God to join Litah - the Link Between Tellus and Heaven - and subsequently inherited leadership of the United Colonies from his father, Galford Lomas.

Qqayle was on a tour of the Lomas system, telling United Colonies citizens his testimony and the story of the establishment of the Colonies from his unique perspective.

After a speaking engagement a small group of trouble makers took issue with part of Qqayle's message, and he became embroiled in a riot, in which he sustained serious injuries from which he was unable to recover.

It is a testament to the power of Qqayle's story that a revival of the Creed appears to have started in the City since his departure.

Qqayle was a man of great humility, and those closest to him say that the last thing he would want is to be remembered as a martyr for his faith. Rather, Qqayle saw himself as a deeply flawed individual, who by the grace of God had been allowed to lead the United Colonies and been given the honour of encouraging the widespread adoption of the Creed across the Colonies.

Aidan Qqayle is survived by his wife, Doctor Savana Qqayle, and two sons, Rufus Bornane and Galford Qqayle. Aidan will be buried alongside his father at the original landing site on Lomas Prime.

The story of Aidan Qqayle's involvement in Litah and the United Colonies is told in Countless as the Stars.

Friday, November 21, 2008


It is going surprisingly well at the moment :) especially given the ludicrously slow start it had. The start wasn't quite as slow as my progress report suggests, but it wasn't working to start with so I didn't worry too much about updating my word count... There was a spell of about a week where I was full of cold and the last thing I wanted to do after a day's work was write, especially with the word count targets looming depressingly overhead.

But I have had a few days off work this week, which was always a standby in case of behindness.

I have, as well as the thousand words of nonsense I posted here yesterday, enabled a number of cheat modes in order to catch up, mind, such as:
- tagging every single piece of dialogue, he said pointlessly
- including lengthy IM conversations, complete with screen names
- removing all contractions. Even in IM conversations
- an email complete with to, from, bcc, etc.
- which was subsequently read out to another character
- an in depth summary of Countless as the Stars, to which this is a sequel
- so far at least two passages have been repeated from a different perspective
- a couple more passages pasted from Bible Gateway and had the names changed
- taking some comfort in the fact that the NaNo word count consistently comes to more than MS Word. Which usually comes to more than Write or Die. Shhh!

The story has taken a few odd turns, thrown in to keep the words coming, and is shot through with plot-holes you could lose Wales in, but actually I think it might be worth salvaging at some point. I could probably trim all the superfluous words and pointless scenes and get a reasonable novella out of it if I tried.

I am currently at 37.5k - ahead of the 1667 per day target! - but trying to get to 41k today. I am back at work next week, but if I know I only have to make 1000 words per day I think I might actually survive...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I wasn't going to post any excerpts from my NaNo (working title Children of the Stars), but this bit turned out to be really good. The overuse of dialogue tags and absence of contractions is a bit distracting, but perfectly fair under the rules of NaNoWriMo. So, it's Chapter Eleven, and Aidan and Savana Qqayle (our heroes from Countless as the Stars, reprising their roles) are contemplating their adventures so far...

'It has been quite a trip, hasn't it?' Savana said, sitting in the small but comfortable guest quarters in the Lomas Two settlement.
'You can say that again,' Aidan said emphatically. 'I think the only thing that might have made it more interesting would have been if my wormhole trip had ended up taking me further afield than it did.'
'Not too far afield, I hope,' Savana said. 'Not back to Tellus, I mean.'
'No,' Aidan agreed. 'Nor as far in the other direction.'
'What were you thinking then?' Savana asked.
'Oh, maybe if it had left me out by the outer rocky planets. Then I could have explored some really new territory,' Aidan said. 'That would have been really interesting.'
'You should do that,' Savana said. 'Take Gally with you though. You two could do with a male bonding trip.'
'Oh, oh,' Aidan said excitedly. 'What if we ended up at Lomas Five or Six, and found the missing StarCities out there.'
'Why would they still be out there? Wouldn't they be able to tell the rest of us were nearby?' Savana asked.
Aidan shrugged. 'Maybe they are trying to get here,' he suggested. 'Or maybe they are deserted. Maybe everyone died by now.'
'Everyone on a StarCity cannot die,' Savana objected. 'They are designed specifically so that cannot happen.'
'Maybe they contracted a virulent disease form a dirty telephone,' Aidan suggested. 'Or had a bloody civil war. Or encountered a stray wormhole...'
'All fairly unlikely,' Savana said.
'Yes,' Aidan agreed, 'but it would have been an interesting trip.'
'Granted,' Savana agreed. 'It would have taken a long time though, wouldn't it?'
'Well, yes,' Aidan agreed, 'but on the other hand, there is no way we should have been able to see as much of the system as we have done in so little time.'
'Hmm,' Savana said. 'So what you are saying is that you should have taken Gally off on your little wormhole trip, harnessed the power of sub-space travel-'
'Sub what now?' Aidan interrupted.
'That is what we will call it,' Savana said. 'The place where the wormholes go will be called sub-space.'
'Isn't that a bit Star Trek?' Aidan asked.
'Well, yes,' Savana admitted, 'but that also makes it a well known and readily identifiable mechanism.'
'Right,' Aidan said, bemused.
'So anyway,' Savana went on. 'You two discover this, then go off and explore the outer planets-'
'And discover a ghost city,' Aidan interjected.
'If you insist,' Savana said. 'And then we go off on our jolly across the system.'
'Exactly,' Aidan agreed.
'Actually, that would make more sense,' Savana said.
'In what way?' he asked.
'Well, Gally and I came out on this big quest,' she explained. 'To try and cure the infertility on Lomas Prime.'
'Yes,' Aidan said. 'What happened with that?'
'Well, nothing,' Savana said. 'Which is my point. Maybe the big quest should have been to find you.'
'But that would be impossible,' Aidan said.
'Not if Gally had been researching wormhole phenomena all his life,' Savana said.
'Yes,' Aidan agreed. 'That could be what he was doing at the beginning of the story, when the lights went out.'
'Aidan, stop talking as if you're a character in a NaNo novel,' Savana said.
'Ok, sorry,' Aidan said.
'Did we ever hear what happened there?' Savana said. 'About the power cut?'
'We did not,' Aidan said with a smile. 'But the readers did.'
Savana threw a cushion at him. 'Nobody reads NaNo novels,' she said.
'Well, if they did,' Aidan said, risking her wrath again, 'they might have seen that Gally was blamed for the power outages by his boss, and he volunteered to come with me in order to get away from her and the settlement that she turned against him.'
'That could be awkward when we get to return,' Savana said.
'Extra point of conflict,' Aidan said, knowingly. 'Just what a NaNo novel needs!'
'Er, quite,' Savana said, bemused.
'Well go on then,' Aida prompted. 'What would you have put in if our lives were a NaNo novel?'
'I think Gally needs a girlfriend,' she said.
'I think he needs two,' Aidan said. 'Conflict, remember?' he added in response to Savana's glare.
'Whatever happens to the Straker twins?' Savana asked. 'Weren't they supposed to appear in this boo- er, part of our lives?'
'Good question,' Aidan said. 'Still, there, er, would probably be a good twenty thousand words to go at this point, so they could still turn up.'
'Twenty thousand, you reckon?' Savana said. 'Well, what do you think will happen to us next then?'
'Well, I imagine that we will press Gally into a relationship with that Sharita girl,' Aidan said.
'Oh, she is nice,' Savana said.
'But she will turn out to be barren,' Aidan said, 'so Gally will hook up with one or more of his virtual girlfriends as well, you know, to-'
'Broaden the gene pool,' Savana interrupted. 'I bet that rule was thought up by a man.'
'That is not very fair,' Aidan protested.
'Says the man with a son by another woman,' Savana grumbled.
'That was your idea,' he reminded her.
'That is another story,' Savana said.
'Yes,' Aidan agreed. 'Countless as the Stars by Steve Trower. Available from'
'What are you talking about?' Savana said.
'Sorry, that was not me,' Aidan insisted. 'It was the author, putting a piece of blatant self promotion into my mouth.'
'Should self promotion not be hyphenated?' Savana said.
'In all probability, self promotion should in fact be written with the use of a hyphen,' Aidan said.
'A simple yes would have done,' Savana said.
'In retrospect, I would anticipate that a simple affirmative would have provided the information after which you were inquiring,' Aidan said. 'However, it is my belief that the author is desperately trying to drag this segment out to a nice round one thousand words, and merely wished to ensure the best possible use of the phrase self promotion in the context of the written page.'
'Sorry what?' Savana said.
'I said,' Aidan replied, 'in retrospect, I wou-'
'Now you are just taking the mickey,' Savana interrupted.
'Fair point,' Aidan agreed. 'Is there anything else you would have liked to have done during the course of this nov- er, portion of our lives?'
'How long have we got?' Savana asked.
'About ten words,' Aidan said.
'Well then, no,' Savana said.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I have just passed the half way mark...

I should have been there earlier, but I struggled yesterday, suddenly ran out of plot and didn't have any idea where things were going. So today I sent my protag to the other side of the planet, abandoned him there and subjected him to the most horrible tortures known to, well, me.

That was probably a bit unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, but it has kept me writing and got me interested in the story again. Whether any of that makes it into the final cut (assuming I ever edit this rubbish) is doubtful, but that's not important right now.

What is important is that I need to keep going, or I will never make it. This tea break is now officially over.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tunes vs CSFF Blog Tour: Shade

I should, of course, still be NaNo-ing, so I'll keep the intro short (unless I can figure out a way to incorporate it in my word count).

This week the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring Christian vampire novel Shade by John Olson, which of course means that Tuesday Tunes is featuring the Top Ten Vampire Songs, personally selected by an elite team of undead pop music fans.

10. Annie Lennox - Love Song for a Vampire
This is horrible, but I couldn't of many songs with vampire in the title. In by default, really.

9. The Libertines - Don't Look Back Into the Sun
This is the first track on the album Rules for Indie Rock Vampires. Isn't it? Well, it should be.

8. The Kinks - Little Miss Queen of Darkness
Nothing to do with vampires, but a nice little Kinks tune from the 60s.

7. Kristin Hersh - Teeth
This is from Kristin's first solo album after leaving the Throwing Muses. It has a swear word in it, and lots of other words that don't really make any sense. You have been warned.

6. Moby - Live Forever
I mayve mentioned before that every top ten should have seven minutes of electronica. So here it is.

5. Arctic Monkeys - Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong But...
...I bet they look good on the dancefloor.

4. Living in a Box - Living in a Box
You're just jealous you didn't think of it.

3. Sultans of Ping FC - Teenage Vampire
I blogged the Sultans a while back. I couldn't get Teenage Vampire on mixwit, but everyone needs to hear Where's Me Jumper? so I put that on instead. So sue me.

2. Snow Patrol - How to be Dead
This should probably be the subtitle to Rules for Indie Rock Vampires, shouldn't it.

1. Evanescense - My Immortal
An obvious choice, not only because it's the best song on the list, but also because the pop-goth style of Evanescance is perfect for all things vampiric. And Amy Lee is my favourite rock chick, but that's another story.

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Sci-fi song of the week

Is it possible to find a sci-fi related vampire song? Taking the view that vampires belong in realms of fantasy rather than science fiction? Well of course it is. To which end I give you...
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme by Nerf Herder, now playing on the sci-fi songs mixtape.
Oh, and when you've enjoyed all the music, pop round the blog tour, would you? The route is on the last post. Just tell people I said hi - I'd stop by myself, but I should be writing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

CSFF Blog Tour: Shade by John B Olson

CSSF Blog Tour

We interrupt this NaNoBlogFest for an important announcement...
The CSFF Blog Tour this month is featuring Shade by John Olson, co-author of the Christian sci-fi Oxygen series with Randall Ingermanson.
Now that I've got a sci-fi mention out of my system, Shade is part spiritual warfare of the loosely Peretti style, and part vampire infested urban fantasy. Apparently. Obviously I haven't read it, but from some of the reviews posted on amazon and on the author's website it looks like something I might try and get hold of.
Which, I should point out here, is something this blog tour has been very good for. Living, as I do, in the backwaters (England), I might not have heard about the Christian sf stylings of Robin Parrish, or Austin Boyd, or Kathy Tyers, outside of the tour. But I digress.
Suffice to say that, if Christian speculative fiction is your bag, follow this tour! And follow it this way over the next few days:

Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Jason Joyner
Rachel Marks
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise


It's all gone horribly Pete Tong.

Now, I'm all for characters developing of their own accord during the writing process. It makes the whole experience that bit more interesting if the writer loses a bit of control. But when writing an Old Testament Space Opera, however loosely you base it on the original text, there are certain things you don't want happening, certain aspects of the source material you want to keep.

For instance, when basing a plot thread on the sibling rivalry of Jacob & Esau, you don't want the two characters suddenly turning out to be the wrong brothers. That just makes a total mess of the whole of history...

However, if I can keep my wordcount goal for today, I might keep going anyway and sort it out later.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Well, there's been a lot of slow days, and some non-existent days, for one reason or another, but today I think I had got myself back in the game. I have some good writing time in the week ahead, and I have readjusted my targets so I can make good use of it.

And today, thanks in no small part to the Kamikaze mode on Write or Die, my word count is almost back in the realms of respectability. I may also have copied and pasted a few paras from BibleGateway, because I am writing an Old Testament Space Opera, after all.

It is, of course, nothing like I had planned, extremely predictable, and basically a bit rubbish, but I've got past caring. I have worked out that I can write a fairly decent 7-800 words in an evening after Her Babyship leaves me alone. If I can keep that up after NaNo, I should have a first draft of Project Seven knocked up by spring!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I have a working title:
Countless as the Superfluous Adverbs

Well, you gotta keep the wordcount up, haven't you?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


It's TERRIBLE!! I am writing the most depressing pile of drivel EVER! And I'm not even doing it quickly! Who ever thought this was a good idea?

OK, none of that matters. In November, more than any other time, I have permission to write crap. In fact, it's practically expected, and that's why I didn't want to take on Project Seven. I am literally sketching out an expanded outline at the moment, nothing more. But I have at least got my characters into space now, ready to explore their first new planet.

My main problem is time. With the day job, a demanding 3-year-old, and the house to keep in order, I am only managing about an hour of decent writing time per writing day. Out of which I am getting about 750 words. (Out of which about 50 are worth keeping, I suspect.)

But if I can come out of this month with a habit of writing 750 words of fiction most days - or at least just spending that hour on it - I will have achieved something.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


OK, so I'm way behind schedule, thanks to not getting anything done for two days, but that's not really the problem. The problem I have at the moment is that, nearly 3000 words into my space opera, nobody has so much as looked at a spaceship yet.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Well, so far so good; it's a somewhat rambling start, but I kind of knew where I wanted it to go so I managed to bang my quota out for the day. I don't expect to do so for the next couple of days - pesky real life - but hopefully I'll be able to develop my plan a bit more and stay on top in the long run.

And hopefully the widget over there will update too.