State of play with current writing projects.

As usual I have a number of projects hanging in the air.

  1. I am currently rewriting my Sci-fi novel God’s Bolt. After discussions with my editor he suggested two improvements that I have taken on board. I am aiming to get those completed in the next week and to put that book out for re-editing. I am hopeful of publishing God’s Bolt in a couple of months time.

2. The sequel to God’s Bolt – Unfinished Business – is complete in second draft and in the process of being edited. When I have the opportunity to sit down with my editor I have a better understanding of what needs doing. It might require a major rewrite or minor tweaking. We’ll see. I hope to get that out some time in the summer.

3. Nick Harper – The Wilderness Years – my book on Nick – is complete and frustratingly still waiting to be laid out and published. Unfortunately the designer was ill and the project lapsed. I need to sit down with Nick to discuss where we go from here – another designer? We’ll see. I hope to get this one out in the summer too.

4. Ruminating on Roy Harper – my book on my long-term relationship with Roy stretching back to the sixties is currently on hold. I have a disagreement with my editor which needs resolving. She doesn’t like the style in which it is written. I do. I’m trying to put a little time and objectivity into the process. I will shortly look to take the project forward (following the two Sci-fi novels) and hope to get it out later this year.

5. Dead Ducks, Own Goals and Greed – my twelfth book of poetry – is progressing nicely. I now have 68 pages of poems. I imagine I will complete it in the next few months. We’ll see how much the muse plays with my mind.

All told it looks like a busy year and I have a couple of ideas fermenting for future books. We’ll see if they come to fruition.

2019 is shaping up to be a good year for my writing! I hope your agenda is also suitably packed!

Keep on writing and squeezing out those creative juices!!

30 thoughts on “State of play with current writing projects.

    1. Ellem – it is quite complex really. Long ago I had this idea of someone on a space station watching the world destroyed. I wanted to explore whether it was possible to write a novel with just one character and explore her feelings and mind – the last human being, trapped, alone with no possibility of rescue.
      In practice it did not quite work out that way. I had many characters in her back story.
      But God’s Bolt is an asteroid that destroys the Earth. I start the book with the destruction. So it isn’t one of those Hollywood destruction movie books. We start there. But I fill in the story behind it. I wasn’t sure if you could write a book in which you already know the ending but it works. I have the politicians, the military and the attempts to deal with the menace. I have the social upheaval and the religious groups who see it as God’s punishment.
      My heroine is on the space station and witnesses it all. I fill in her back story. Her life in science with SETI (search for extra-terrestrial life) and her family, brothers, where she grew up and her life as an astronaut. Then we have her feelings and actions following the destruction. How does one cope with the psychological impact?
      Sorry if that sounds a bit rambly. I’m rushing.

      1. Already done I’m afraid Opher. And done well, too. You have a lot to do to get up to this level.
        1. I Am Legend by Richard Metheson
        2. Johnny Got His Gun by I can’t remember. It’s stacked somewhere.
        3. Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson, about a woman who believes she is the only human being left on Earth.
        4. À Rebours by J.-K. Huysmans is worth a look. Just a guy alone with his extravagantly decorated house, his art collection, his books, etc.
        5. The Martian by Andy Weir mostly follows one character, a man stranded on Mars. There are some chapters dealing with people on Earth trying to rescue him, so maybe it’s a non-starter for you, but the majority of it follows one lonely guy.
        6. It’s been years since I read it, but I think Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek might only have one character (her). It’s an odd collection of nature-focused musings.

      2. Sal – yes I have read ‘I Am Legend’ by Matheson and ‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir. Nothing like the book I have written though.
        It isn’t about only having one character; it is about the psychology of being the last, stranded on a space station. There has not been anything like it that I have read and none of your selections are at all the same.
        Thanks for the observation.

      3. Right, so I must have been completely mistaken having just read this – “I wanted to explore whether it was possible to write a novel with just one character and explore her feelings and mind – the last human being, trapped, alone with no possibility of rescue.

        Yup, that’s right Opher. None of these books are anywhere near yours…
        The Martian is not at all the same. I see. Is that because what? Somebody else wrote it. He’s got a different name. You guy likes tennis, the other guy hockey? What’s not at all the same Opher?
        Seriously. When will you realise just how you look to others? Lol.

      4. No Sal – The Martian was about a guy trapped on Mars who has to survive long enough to get rescued. He wasn’t the last person alive. He hadn’t witness the destruction of his planet with all his family, friends and life with no hope of rescue.
        Quite a bit different. Perhaps you should read it before you pass comment like this. You are talking about something you have not got a clue about. I haven’t even finished rewriting it yet. You haven’t read a single word of it yet you are coming out with this aggressive nonsense.
        I can assure you that it is nothing like any of the books you have cited. I am widely read in Sci-fi and I have not read a book like it. So why this unpleasant attitude?

      5. Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me about it. I enjoy science-fiction and this one sounds exciting. Be sure to let us know when the re-editing is done and the book comes out. It sounds like a story I would very much like to read.

      6. Cheers Ellem. I’ll be sure to do that. I’m glad you got the gist from my rather hurried explanation. I’m pleased with it though it is proving difficult to edit – but I’ll get there.
        This wordpress does tend to mess comments around, doesn’t it.

      7. No Opher, I was simply judging by your description. I must admit to saying that I didn’t at first think you were being entirely honest with your bold claim and I’m still not entirely convinced because something in the back of my mind is telling me different. However.
        Obviously your story will not be exactly the same. But I very much think Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson, about a woman who believes she is the only human being left on Earth, isn’t too far away from your concept of a woman, the last human being and trapped. Exactly where she is trapped doesn’t really make much difference as that’s mere technicality and plot-soup.
        I’m sure I read a book a long time ago by I’ve no idea, titled ‘Lost In Space’ about the last thoughts racing through a stranded astronaut as he floats out into space having lost his footing on his one-man craft when doing a repair. There must be loads of books of this nature.
        Of course you are going to defend your claim but I’d now be interested to learn of what steps you took to ensure that your concept was completely the first of it’s kind and entirely original. Because as you know and given the mountains of books and especially in the Sci-fi world with it’s thirty something genres, any new idea would be miraculous.

      8. Sal – not having read Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson I cannot say. I am sure that there are probably books that cover the same concept but I have not come across one yet.
        I’m not really bothered either way. The idea is original to me and intrigued me because it presented me with a challenge. I had a lot of problems to solve to make it work as a book.

      9. Opher – Right! The idea is original to you! Well, well, well. At last – we got there, didn’t we! See, it wasn’t that difficult was it?

  1. Sent to me by person anonymous. And returned for their posting.

    Opher: Now you are taking the piss. Your Roy Harper book was edited from beginning to end with a number of corrections employed as well as a refresher course in the correct usages of punctuation and grammar. Some worthless uninteresting stuff was supposed to be removed and supplanted with more factual and interesting material, some of which had been supplied by me.
    Your book had been so sloppily edited in the first instance to the extent that there was even a repetition of a paragraph within the preface introduction.
    That said, in fairness to you it was still in a draft form, but sloppy all the same and it wouldn’t have taken much time at the time to correct many of these issues had you simply properly read it back to yourself. And of course employed greater standards of grammatical council.
    It always struck me as strange how you seem to take such deliberate care to have all wordage just so tickety-boo on your blog posts, yet a slap dash effort on a book draft. Never really weighed up to me.

    Besides, this “Editor” of yours should be on quarter-rate as there’s virtually nothing for them to do. Besides, it’s not any editor you have to pander to. Your only obstacle is any possible publisher.

    Anyway, still taking a gubbing on the old blog then? I’ll have to find the time sometime to drop in and check it out. Laters.

    1. Now don’t get above yourself – refresher course it wasn’t thanks. No. I have all the corrections and comments. I might just put together a series of your positive comments. It was well received by yourself with much praise. There were no boring parts requiring removing just a request for some more anecdotes – which went in. It was a first draft hence there were things that needed addressing. There always are.
      Strange that you say I manage to get grammar right on my blog when you need to give me a refresher course in grammar, eh? Bit of a contradiction.
      Me thinks that since we had our falling out over your rudeness you have been remarkably vindictive. Time you moved on.
      BTW – the editor found plenty to address. You didn’t do such a good job after all.

      1. Sent to anonymous. Relayed by anonymous.

        It was well received by me on the premise of an idea. Of course it wasn’t actually my story. I was limited in approval/appraisal as it wasn’t my particular place to tell you at that juncture that really very few people would be too interested in some stories as they weren’t particularly interesting. There’s only so many times enthusiastic commentary can go down as enthusiastic as the last bout of enthusiasm, if you get my drift. I did try to bolster your content with content that I know any bona fide Harper fan would perhaps expect to see contained. Thing is though, he’s your mate, nobody else’s. There’s areas you just wouldn’t touch for fear of offence and considering the magnitude of what had just so recently happened at that time, were sensitive to any further concerns of anything remotely connected to that issue. Understandable, but regrettable none the less.
        Another thing Opher. I also suggested you bolster it with more stuff as it was quite thin in parts and there just had to be more considering the number of years involved, but you countered that you wanted to hold stuff back for yet another book!
        I do know there were sections that I suggested be removed as they read uncomfortably for me at least. But I’m not you.
        I know for a fact that I told you that you had too much of you in some areas and too little in others where the Harper story wasn’t very interesting and on a low keel and had suggested where exactly to bounce what to and move such and such over to whatever. You know that is also a fact.
        Please don’t deny that because I will have your emails on all of this on file somewhere.

        Now about your grammar. Bollocks. You had not much idea how and when to use a semi-colon or a colon. Remember? Or should I publish all my corrections for you? Save you that trouble making up bullshit again.
        In fact, your editor found next to fuck all wrong. What, was there a comma in the wrong spot Opher? Stop being such a miserable little prick about it. Tell the truth for once in your life and desist from behaving like some pest troll or such likes.

        No Opher. I thoroughly disagreed with a lot of your bullshit extreme-leftist nonsense that I can see no good reason to support or believe. I know for a fact just how much is fabricated. As I told you at the time, I actually worked my way around the world. I actually worked in Muslim countries for some considerable amount of time. I’ve seen the worst abuses of Islam. I really know how Islam works. I actually owned and ran a business in the EU. I know all the shit that is going down having seen it and experienced it first hand. I actually had money forcibly removed from my bank due to adverse EU economic policy. I’ve seen first hand on too numerous occasions the disgusting poverty created by the EU. The bullshit abuses of so-called human rights, the bullshit on so-called equality, women equal rights, gay rights. The shocking state of immigration in Germany whilst I lived in Hamburg for some time and visited other German cities. Opher I could go on and on but to what purpose. You have not, can not and seemingly will not ever take on any real and factual information that doesn’t ring true to your personal mantra. Time again you avoid the big picture and slid into this stupid mantra of ” I want this. I want that. They should change this.” etc. Like it will all come out shining bright in Opher’s wash. Well it don’t work that way and it never will.
        The EU is an unmitigated fucking disaster. And how many times have I said these words to you, Opher? Countless. And look what’s happening now just a few miles across the water in France. It’s unbelievably explosive.
        Why are we being so fucked over and Switzerland didn’t. Nobody gives them any grief and they get full membership fringe benefits without the Euro, without being a member state. WTF? And lot want to let these cunts fuck us over. There’s only one thing between these bastards ears. Our money. Our continuous supply of our money feeding their Bundesbank, feeding straight into the pockets of the richest people in Europe and in some cases the world.
        No Opher. I didn’t fall out with you over rudeness or any vindictiveness. Although I was subsequently informed at some point that you had been bad mouthing me behind my back and pointing fingers at me in response to others whom had also seemingly cottoned on to your bullshit mantra and they too gave you some grief over that. Hard lines. You publish, expect a good slap down now and again.
        I fell out with you because I simply couldn’t stand where you were coming from any longer. You appalled me time and again with the same unsophisticated lowest common denominator mentality like a puppet repeating itself, refusing to ever listen to any other factual contribution with very reasonable explanation and subsequently to the extent where I simply told you to fuck off. I really knew at that time and will say it again, there exist many areas where you are simply unqualified and therefore on paper should have no cause to be holding a concrete opinion when in fact you know too little of the subject matter. For instance, life in an Islamic country. Yet you talk with great gusto about “integration” and “multiculturalism” without any understanding that Somali’s hate Eritreans. Syrians hate Egyptians. Pakistanis hate Bangladeshis, etc etc. Nothing you get told sinks in. Nothing. Period.
        I see that once again you are repeating yourself about the slang expressions used by black people towards each other and also with the gay crowd. Seriously Opher? Why? When you really know very little about this. OK I know you worked dishes for 3 three months in 1970, then taught at a school for a year in 1980, but what real contact would you be having with these good folks at that level? I stated working not with, but alongside many of these guys as a young guy. Later I actually worked in some of their countries and I could not even begin to describe tribal racism for you that’s a big deal in Africa. I worked for a company that specialised among other things in the gay entertainment industry, with pubs and night clubs. The Pink Pound was really big business. All our employees in them were gay as obviously most of the custom. Part of my job was socialising at times, within reason, but most frequently. I saw and heard them live and react towards each other. You really have no idea how they behave in the confines of their domain. The level of insult and bitchiness is unfathomable.

        Opher. What the fuck do I care if you make a continuous big tit of yourself. I’m well off elsewhere these days in other areas.

        Time I moved on you say? Opher I did that 2 or 3 years ago. Besides, you blocked me in a temper tantrum, remember. I’m still blocked apparently.

    2. I actually did a quick look back through your editing (which despite your constant subsequent nastiness I am still grateful for) and comments.
      Here’s what you wrote on your last one – ‘Just a few minor corrections.
      It all reads very well and very well done,’
      Not quite what you are saying now is it?
      Or should I go back and dig out a host of the nice things you said about it?
      Shame that you took umbrage over Muslims and immigration. I did value your skills and knowledge even if your attitude wasn’t always so brilliant.

    3. Andrew – as a reminder – this is what you actually said about the Roy Harper Book when you had finished editing it:
      ‘Firstly – the book is very, very good and I can say that having read it twice.
      It’s a really well considered, structured, reader-friendly and cohesive piece of writing and I think you’ve done a splendid job.
      Apart from throwing in the extra bits and tidying up some slight repetition towards the beginning (that I happen to think), the book is more or less done ‘n dusted.
      I think it’s a grand job.

      Specific to your question – what needs developing?
      Add in the relevant Harper early years stuff, where it fits best.
      Blackpool, leaving Blackpool (if this hadn’t been mentioned)
      (local hero to Ian Anderson – who left Blackpool because Roy had! – that’s quite funny actually)
      and whatever else you deem sensible to include.
      Add in some more of you at the point I had suggested – as per the notes.

      Apart from that – you’ve covered all bases, it’s all there, it’s all relevant.
      It’s not been bogged down with what has a tendency to happen – where we’re reading of endless names of engineers in recording studios etc – you know what I mean here as you’ve read them, too.
      You’ve kept it fresh and much more interesting.
      The flip from you to Roy and back and forth really works very well and is a much more interesting concept as it’s a mile away from the “and Roy did this and then he did that and then he did this” etc.

      What would be useful would be some quotes from Roy, slipped in where relevant, with some from other luminaries, too.
      Also – I thought the chapter titles were most inventive – that’s a task in itself.
      You covered the ‘probably very difficult to do’ Roy “allegations” chapter very well – and that must have taken a bit of brain power to get to where you arrived at. So well done there, too.’

      That’s a bit different to the tone you’re now adopting isn’t it?

      1. So Opher, what did you say after I had edited it?

        Opher: I don’t need your reminder. I have a fully functioning memory. It’s you with the chicken sieve problem, remember?
        And wasn’t that great contribution and very succinct Opher? Didn’t I hit the nail on the head throughout the book, chapter and verse of what fits best where etc etc.

        No Opher. I take exception to your fucking crumby remarks NOW. The editing was the bees knees and you fucking know it was you cheap bastard.
        Go find your other email telling me just how great you thought it was.
        Every single detail I covered in that was completely positive.
        And I did read it twice as I went through it line by line. Twice.

      2. So Opher, what did you say to me after I had edited it. Go publish. It’s not a one man show.
        You know for a fact that it was well edited as I’d read it through twice and done line by line, with line numbers.
        And here’s you NOW, all smug and conceited with it that it’s not such a great job after all. So that means two/three years on you still haven’t learned any more about grammar and punctuation. Because Opher, I stopped the day I left school at 17. I’m not the writer. You are. Allegedly.

  2. Impressed as usual. Good luck with all these projects. I’m hoping your govt will exit the brexit, so that you will have more peace of mind to write even more.

    1. Behave yourself Bumba. There’s 56 million planned to be entering the EU very soon over a period. There’s going to be some further problems at least. Some very expensive problems.

      1. At this point in time it is difficult to see how we get out of this mess without severely damaging the country.
        I think, personally, that what we need is another dollop of democracy.

  3. Andrew – I have said – I have no problem with your editing. You are so incredibly touchy. Unbelievable.
    Putting it out to Roy and others – they were not so impressed. I think there were reasons for that maybe. Who knows.
    As I said – I will spend time rewriting and considering after I have got the two Sci-fi books done.

    1. Opher – Editing comes in different forms. Editing sometimes suggests that swathes of text were red penned and removed or greatly reduced. I didn’t do that sort of editing.
      I cleaned up the obvious punctuation mistakes, sorted some grammatical errors, fixed some sentence structures that needed fixing and made suggestion to move small portions of text to bolster other area’s shortages and to add a bit more factual information here and there, again only for bolstering effect, to include (I think) maybe some accurate dates or something, and some lists maybe of people participants – that sort of thing. As well as some more info on record releases etc. Just proper bona fide fan stuff. And that was pretty much it.
      Under no circumstances did I remotely change the flow and overall content structure, by any measure, of your book.
      Basically all I was – was a mistake fixer and to offer a few more ideas. End of.

      Now if Roy and others were not impressed, I hardly think that’s got anything to do with me. Yes, perhaps there very likely were some grammatical errors that I missed. No doubt probably there were. I’m not completely infallible, but we both know that book was in far better shape regardless. But I didn’t do any of the writing, or the plot planning, or the narrative structure.
      As a first completed draft attempt- which is exactly what it was – I did think it was very good. It had everything in good shape, the right bits that needed fixing were fixed, in the right place, the book narrative flowed properly and it’s wasn’t full of dry boring technical stuff -like the serial numbers of the tape box for take 3 of ‘Don’t You Grieve’ kinda thing, which I think I had said from the outset had to be avoided.
      There was the music side and the human story side. The original intention had been met and achieved.
      Just why it has been met with rejection is a mystery to me.
      But as I said before, I don’t think Roy Harper is the man to be making that call because he is too much of a control freak and you will sit there till doomsday waiting for his accreditation and his governing decision of release.
      He’s surplus to requirement in this process and if I were you, I’d tell him exactly that.
      He pissed you about for years and finally rejected your work and in place self-produced what was a very easy book to produce. A photocopy of original lyric sheets and a load of snaps. So, here’s you years later – and there’s no conflict of interest issue at stake – with a completely different type of thing, quite an interesting format, in written text format, and Roy and others (not that these others matter a jot) are not impressed. Not impressed with what exactly? You need to find out exactly what the issues are. Maybe Harper doesn’t like the sound of himself in written text? Maybe he can only handle a photo of himself in his prime looking like he’s on a roll? Maybe he’s manic depressive – which I suspect he might be at times – and can’t/won’t/unable to make decisions. Maybe he needs money in return. Whatever the reason/s you need to know. And/or what would be needed for it to substantially please him? What would that additional material or format of narrative change entail? Etc.
      Why are you so continuously reticent to shake this buggers cage and tell him what you want from him? Toughen up, man!

      Personally, Opher, all bullshit between you and I aside, you have an opportunity. He’s on tour in not too many weeks away. I’d have that book ready in copy and on sale at these gigs. Or at least advertised on flyers and handed out to all upon arrival. They can then order the book online later on. It’s too good an opportunity to miss. You may not ever perhaps get another one as red hot as this. That’s my tuppenceworth.

      Forget these other two books and get cracking with this – once and for all.

      1. Andrew – thank you for your advice.
        At the moment I am sitting on the book to clarify what I want to do with it. If it was just Roy then I would agree. But it isn’t. It seems that the book elicits two reactions: either people love it or they hate it. The stream of consciousness style either clicks or it doesn’t. It is not something that can be easily addressed.
        I need to be certain in my mind that it is right before I put it out.

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