Been a manic two weeks. Well, actually it’s a week that feels like two. Been ploughing through stuff, trying to get Ghost in the Machine nailed. The rules for submitting manuscripts is to send a synopsis and your first three chapters. The problem being, of course, that you’ve got to have your full book nailed before it’s mailed [thanks]. At the moment, I’ve ticked the boxes that say 1st three and synopsis, but i’ve still got to finish my third draft. I’m up to 70pc now, having gotten through 10k yesterday. I’m through the big gap where I had to write two new ‘days’ in, and I’m back to editing. The trouble then is that there were problems in the first draft that the second draft didn’t resolve, so I’ve had to substantially rework the edited bits, so it’s not a simple edit. The sequence of events has changed quite a bit, so I’ve had to rewrite hundreds of words and write new link sections. Believe me, this is the last time I start writing without a very detailed plan! The third draft works in terms of structure and plot, but is slightly unrefined when it comes to the writing, which is quite natural – to resolve this, it’s a manic paper edit, go through the whole thing in a week and get it consistent. The fourth draft is that, and is where the first three chapters come from. They’re pretty much perfect to me, nice crisp prose and with nice short, tight chapters. Style is something I am very particular about but have let slip. I’m aiming for the precise weighted description of Ellroy, with dialogue similar to Brookmyre or MacBride, i.e. colloquial and funny but also serious. I read a piece about Orwell a few months back – he never used common sayings. It’s something I’m trying to excise – it’s very easy to fall into the ‘as something as’ trap when I need to focus on precise descriptions. Anyway. Enough – more editing tonight.
Gearing up to send off “Ghost in the Machine” to literary agents and publishers. I’ve got about a third of my three chapter sample honed and edited, pretty pleased with it – not too much different from the previous draft, but I shaved 800 words off the first chapter which is much better. And I’ve done a draft of the synopsis, four pages of what I don’t like doing. Actually, I loathed it for the last manuscript (should that be autoscript, given I typed into a PC?), but I found a really helpful site which has a method cadged from Robert McKee, which seems to have worked for me. I actually enjoyed it and ironed out a few creases here and there.
I’ve not finished my latest draft, but I’m going to play a game of brinkmanship and send it off now, giving me focus to getting the rest of it edited. I’m into the editing stage again, past the new writing, so there’s only about a week of stuff to do there, plus another week or two of solid editing, and that’s it.
I just wish I wasn’t stupidly busy at work just now. : (
Well, I’ve decided that Honey Trap will now be called Ghost in the Machine. I know i said in my last post that it was a poor name, but it really has grown in me – it’s a quotation from from Gilbert Ryle, a refutation of the Cartesian assertion of the mind in the vat. And the name of an album by The Police, and I’m not sure it’s from their decent period, either. It matches with the title for book two – Devil in the Detail – and makes me think that book three will be called Beast in the Shadow. I know what the fourth one is called and it’s not an “in the” derivative. If nothing else, it means I’ve demonstrably planned Scott Cullen’s progression over a series of novels. I’ve hit the new writing portion of Ghost in the Machine, which is going better than I thought. Also, can access this on my mobile, so more frequent updates will be forthcoming.