Blindsighted: A New Book on the Way

Welcome to another week

I started writing what became Blindsighted when I was trying to get back into writing after being unable to get going on anything when struggling with my mental health. Starting a new story really helped me get back into writing and calm my brain, which at the time was going a million miles a second with all the bad things I could possibly think of.

I got maybe around a third of the way into the story I wanted to write before deciding to stop and get back going with The Next Stage.

Up until that point, I’d struggled to edit TNS and the chore of going through it multiple times and editing was too much for me to handle. However, this time, I got into it, and I didn’t stop working on it until it was released back in October 2020.

When I’d released TNS, I started work on a story that I’ve had in my head for years; It’s All in the Eyes (you may have seen me mention it in other blogs.) I got a fair way into this story when, for whatever reason, I hit a wall. I felt like I was just writing for the sake of it and wasn’t really adding anything to the story. As much as I wanted to finish it, I didn’t want to rush it and mess it up – the story has been in my head for years; I don’t think it’s going anywhere. This was when I picked Blindsighted back up.

When I started on Blindsighted again, I had the story that I wanted to tell, so it didn’t take me long to finish it and once again be back to editing.

I’ve mentioned before that editing isn’t my favourite process involved in writing. It’s not that I find it hard to do – well, it is, but I find it hard mentally. Editing doesn’t engage my brain as much as concentrating on actually writing a story. The process of guiding a character around their world is much more satisfying and involved than going through something that’s already written and just needs proofreading.

But, as much as I struggle with this, and after four digital and one paperback proof readthrough, Blindsighted is finally ready for release.

I’ve set a date of 14th April 2020 – so, next Wednesday – for release. In theory, I could release it now, but I’m trying to get a little bit of buzz going beforehand.

A Goodreads page for the book has been set up, and I’ve been sharing the link on social media for those that like to add things to their TBR list. I’ll share it here, too, just in case you’ve missed it. Click the logo below to be taken there.

In between the release date and now, I’ll be working on another story. As The Next Stage has been received so well, I’ll be working on the sequel. This is provisionally titled, The Next Stage 2 – catchy, huh?

For now, though, we’re spending the day trying to do a low chaos run through of Dishonored…we can do this!

Have a good week all.

Another Monday

On a Monday I usually do a writing update and was hoping that today I would have the news that I finished editing the proof copy of Blindsighted, but unfortunately I don’t. Editing is taking a little longer than I had originally expected for one reason or another, but I’m still doing what I can in a view to release soon.

To acknowledge the imminent release of Blindsighted, I’ve put both of my other books – The Next Stage and Creatures – up for a reduced price over on Amazon. For the next few days, both books will be 99p/99¢ so make sure to grab your copy now.

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US Amazon

Over the weekend we spent time boxing up more of our stuff in preparation for moving very soon. We’ve been living out of boxes for months now while we wait for our new house to be built. With the move just around the corner it’s almost painful having to wait the remaining time. We’ve been to see the house a few times over the past week and it’s amazing to see the progress that has been made in a week. Our house has nearly finished rendering and we can’t wait to move in so we can finally have a home we can make our own.

That’s all for today, I’m going to get back to editing and maybe putting together some blogs for the next few weeks.

Have a good week all.

The Editing Struggle

When the week started, I was determined to get the paperback proof copy of Blindsighted edited, but it so far hasn’t happened for one reason or another. I’ve managed to get around three quarters the way through it, but the past couple of days haven’t been very productive.

I find editing a difficult thing to do when my head isn’t 100% in it. Generally, I don’t mind the process, it’s a necessary evil and is a critical process in writing a book, but when my head is having an off day, I just can’t get going with it.

Writing is something that helps me get through some bad days. The act of creating and engaging with the characters and worlds calms my brain and gives me something good on which to focus. With editing, though, I don’t get that.

As I’m going through something that I’ve already been through multiple times, nothing new is grabbing my attention and focus. I find my mind drifting and thinking about other things more often, and I end up missing things that need to be altered or corrected, which, in the end, will only harm the story.

As much as I want to get this draft completed – I think it will be the last – I don’t want to rush it, miss things and then put it out into the world only for people to pick up on my mistakes.

If I could afford to hire an editor, I would do, but as it stands, I don’t have the money available to me to do so. So, for now, I have to do the bulk of the work.

I’m really pleased with how Blindsighted has turned out; it’s very different from my last book, The Next Stage. It’s been good to write a different story genre, from something that was heavily sci-fi to this paranormal horror is a welcome change.

I don’t know what genre I want to write at the minute, or even if I want to stick to just one, I think I may end up being more of a multi-genre author. Of course, for that to happen, I need to get Blindsighted released.

I haven’t set a specific date for release as I don’t want to rush things and put more pressure on myself than I already do. I’ve said before that I’m hoping to release in the next couple of months, but if I set a date, I will probably only beat myself up if I don’t meet the deadline. There’s no rush, and it’ll be out when it’s out. My mental health is more important than publishing a book. I need to make sure that I keep my brain happy; everything else will come in time.

Reading this blog back, I can see it’s a little bit all over the place. I’m struggling even to type this, if I’m honest. So, that being said, I’ll leave things here for now and get back to trying to edit.

Have a good weekend.

Planning Your Writing

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the way that I write and the preparations and planning that I do for a story. I also asked some of my fellow authors on Twitter how they write;

I’ve written two books now, with several others in progress and I realised that I haven’t really done all that much planning of how the stories are going to go.

With The Next Stage I had my corkboard with its map and post-it notes but this was mainly so I could trace the paths that the characters took and the times at which different events occurred around the city. As far as actually planning the route a story is going to take, I do very little.

With TNS I would occasionally write one or two words for what I thought was going to happen, but this wasn’t really a set-in-concrete guide it was merely an idea as to how it could go. When I’m writing I pretty much just type and see where it takes me. I may have a rough idea of the story I want to tell, but unlike some authors I don’t have an ending in mind. I may have a key line – maybe dialogue or a description – that I want to try to write but that’s about it.

I’m now going through my paperback proof draft of Blindsighted and I’m still chopping and changing things. A few weeks ago I decided to change the perspective from third to first-person. I hadn’t planned for this and I thought that it might involve rewriting the entire story but thankfully it wasn’t as much work as I had envisioned. If I had planned the story ahead of time I might have decided to do this sooner as I may have seen that with this type of story the first person perspective would add to the atmosphere.

I’ve not written anything in first-person yet. Most of my WIPs are written where I do a different character for each chapter as I follow them around, whereas Blindsighted is written around one character – an eleven year old boy.

The only reason I can think of for not planning where a story is going to go ahead of time is that I like the whole process of writing and seeing where my typing takes me. It’s almost as if the world is being created in that moment, it’s all new and fresh and anything could happen. Characters appear from nothing and enter the ever changing world.

For other writers this might not be something they do. They may plan out every little detail ahead of time or just plan out the bare-bones of it. The purpose of these blogs is to show how different writers have different methods pertaining to their writing process. What works for one, may not work for others.

This isn’t to say that I’ve never tried to plan. When I first started working on The Next Stage I began with a single sentence and then attempted to figure out what characters were like and what the futuristic Washington D.C. they inhabited was like. I only got a little way into this before I got frustrated and wanted to start writing the story. I told myself that I would write a bit and then go back to planning, but alas, I never did. But this I think worked in my favour as my method led to The Next Stage being received amazingly well by readers despite my slap-dash technique.

This method works for me. I’m sure it will evolve over time and I may start to plan more things. But at the moment this is the way that I write. Part of the fun of writing is finding out your method and what works for you. But reading and hearing about what other writers do might inspire you try something new or adapt the method and tailor it to your writing style.

As I interact more with the writing community I’m learning more and more and although I’m still at the start of my writing career but I like to pass on anything that I’ve learned or how I work to others and hope that they in turn will pass on their knowledge to others.

Well, that’s my ramble for today. I’m going to head back to my editing so I can hopefully release Blindsighted very soon.

Have a good week all.

Paperback Proof Editing: Blindsighted

It’s that time once again. Time to go through a paperback proof copy of my next book – in this case, it’s Blindsighted.

I did this with my last book, The Next Stage, and it really helped me pick up on some errors that I had missed entirely when going through my digital drafts.

When I go through it, I spend my time highlighting things that I want to change and mark the pages with little sticky notes, so it’s easier for me to find what I need to alter on the digital version.

At this time with TNS, I was almost ready for release, and I’m at that same stage with Blindsighted.

I’m not sure how long it will take me to go through the paperback proof, so I still don’t have a firm release date, but I’m hoping that it will be some time in the next couple of months – so stay tuned for further updates.

At this time, it’s probably a good idea to share with you what Blindsighted is all about and show you the cover.

Description:

When Nathan and his mother move into their dream home, they think their days are looking up.

But when Nathan starts to experience visions of a man with no eyes stalking him, their dream home soon becomes a nightmare.

Soon he starts to see a mysterious ghostly boy that seems to be guiding him towards something. Can Nathan make sense of what the boy is trying to tell him before the sinister man gets too close, or will he disappear as others have?

Cover:

Friday Restday

Earlier this week, I finished my latest draft of my next book, Blindsighted.

Before I did anything more on that novel, I tried to do some further work on Creatures 2. This didn’t go as planned.

When I finish a project that I’ve been so into, like a novel draft when I finish, it leaves me feeling somewhat lost. I try to jump straight into something else despite knowing how it’s going to go *Spoiler Alert* it doesn’t go well.

I don’t know what it is, but I sit there with a project open, and I’m raring to go, but I just go “meh” and can’t get started when I look at it. I generally try to push myself through the feeling and try to get my enthusiasm back, but it tends just to frustrate me, and I don’t do anything, and if I do, it’s not my best work.

Also, I find myself doubting everything that I’ve just done on my current WIP during this time. I feel like it’s not as good as it could be and that no one will like it. I went through all these stages when I was working on The Next Stage, so I know that people do enjoy my work and that I am good at what I do. There’s always that nagging doubt that I find it difficult to get rid of at the back of my mind.

I don’t know whether this is part of my bipolar or anxiety that is telling me I’m not good enough and gives me the imposter syndrome that I’ve mentioned before. But whatever it is, it’s bloody annoying!

Yesterday after a couple of hours of work, I gave up and played some of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Today I’m not even attempting to work because I know I’ll just get annoyed – plus my hip is killing after doing some house stuff – so I’m going to spend the day sitting on our new, very comfortable bed, playing something and working myself up to doing more work on Monday.

Have a good weekend all, and hopefully, I’ll have some new exciting updates on my writing on Monday. Don’t forget, though, if you need to take some downtime to get your brain a break and get your mental health topped up; it’s okay to do so.

The Third Draft Continued

It’s Monday again, which means I’m back to going through my latest draft of Blindsighted.

Last week, I decided to change the style from third-person to first-person and as much work as that’s created for me, I feel it was the best decision.

It now feels a little more personal, and for the story, I’m telling, first-person works so much better than I third. I’m hoping that it will allow the readers to get a little closer to the main character and feel what he’s going through.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, writing in this style is a first for me. I usually follow several characters, but for Blindsighted, I’m only following the one. The MC is called Nathan, and he’s an eleven-year-old boy who lives with his mother. The story follows him as he and his mum move into a new house, and he starts to have strange experiences. I don’t want to go into the story too much as I’m yet to write and reveal the blurb. I’m hoping that once this draft is finished, I can spend some time writing it, and then I’ll give you more of an overview of what the story is about.

As it stands, I’ve got just under 100 pages to edit, and I’m going to try, this week, to get this draft finished. Of course, whenever I say things like this, there’s always something that will come up. We’ve already got someone coming in to fix the bath today and a new bed being delivered on Wednesday, but I’m hoping that I can work my way through the remainder of the draft even with these distractions.

I hope that your work has started well and continues on the same path.

Have a good week.

Changing Perspectives

So, over the weekend, I had a thought…

I’m currently going through draft number three of Blindsighted, and over the weekend, I had an idea for something that would perhaps make the story work a little better. This idea means that I not only have to edit the story but also to change it from reading from a third-person perspective to a first-person one.

I don’t know where this thought came from, but it’s something that I can’t get out of my head now, so I have to at least give it a go.

Writing from a first-person view is something that I’ve, so far, not done. My two released books have both been third-person and have followed the style of having each chapter about rotating characters.

For example;
Chapter 1 > Character 1
Chapter 2 > Character 2
Chapter 3 > Character 3
Chapter 4 > Character 1
Chapter 5 > Character 2
Chapter 6 > Character 3
And so on…

So writing from a first-person is going to be a new challenge for me. But, as Blindsighted follows a single character with everything being seen from his view, it makes sense that this one is done in this style.

I’m not sure how this is going to turn out, but I’m more than willing to give it a go if it’s going to make the story better. Of course, this may mean that my release date is pushed back a little way, but I don’t want to send it out there if I’m not completely happy with it.

Keep everything crossed for me that this turns out okay.

I’ll also try this week to finally get my description/synopsis/blurb done. I’ve written a few different versions but I’m not overly happy with any of them so far. Maybe if the change of perspective works out, it’ll help me with this too.

For now, I’m going to throw myself into this challenge I’ve set for myself.

Here We Go Again…

As I said in Friday’s post, last week was a bust as far as writing was concerned. I started doing some on Monday but couldn’t focus enough on it for it to be worthwhile. I didn’t want to muddle my way through and mess things up. This week though I’m back on it.

As is sometimes the case when I take some time away from writing, I had new ideas. Not just for my current WIP Blindsighted, but also for new things. I’m not sure I’ll be working on them anytime soon, but it’s good to have some ideas in the bank.

My progress through the second draft of Blindsighted is steady, and I’m just over halfway through it. I’ve been adding things to flesh out the story and going through everything to make sure it makes sense and flows well.

I’m using the same method for this novel as I did for The Next Stage. I’m going to have at least 4 or 5 drafts, with my last being the one with the proof paperback. With TNS I found that this method worked really well, so I’m hoping it does the same for this story.

I still don’t have a firm date that I want to have it done by. As much as I have a goal of having it done in a few months, I don’t really want to set a deadline. I feel if I do, and I don’t meet it, it’ll stress me out unnecessarily. Although I’m treating this as a 9-5 job, I don’t want to add extra pressure. I’m already under enough as it is, what with my hip and moving house soon. Blindsighted will be ready when it’s ready. I’ll keep updating as I go through the drafts so you can see my process.

I’m sat working on the sofa, which hasn’t caused any issues before, but now I have a PS5 staring at me begging me to play it. I had a quick stream of Ghost of Tsushima this morning to help me wake up. I’ve put the controller down now, but it still calls to me.

While I’m in the mood to write I’m going to get back to it. Have a good week all.

When Can You Call Yourself an Author?

This is a question that bounced around my head for a while. Before I talk about how I felt and when I decided to use the word author, I asked the writing community of Twitter what their thoughts were;

This question was something that prayed on my mind quite a bit when I started writing especially after released Creatures.

Although having written and (self) published a book, I still didn’t feel like I could call myself a bona fide author. Maybe it was the self-deprecating part of my brain, but I didn’t think I was good enough to be able to use that word.

Something in my brain associated the word “author” with the likes of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, James Patterson, Steven King, Michael Crichton; the authors of books that I grew up reading and I think I was comparing my work to theirs and, honestly, it just didn’t stack up.

In May of 2020, I was struggling with my mental health to the extent that made the difficult decision to quit my day job of working in IT. With this done, I had time to focus on my mental health, and I felt like a big part of my healing was being able to write, and although I was now doing this full-time, I still didn’t feel like I was good enough.

Having these thoughts is difficult to describe, and I’m doing my best to get my thoughts and feelings down here. I suppose a part of my struggle was that I had imposter syndrome. In case you don’t know what this is; it’s a psychological pattern where an individual doubts their skills, accomplishments and talents and you have this fear that one day you’ll be discovered as a fraud. Even though I had written and published a book, I still didn’t have enough confidence in my skills to say that I was good at this and I would be able to write anything else, that Creatures was a one-off. However, then came The Next Stage.

It took me around two years to finish and get The Next Stage published. I think a big reason for this was me delaying it because I still didn’t think it was good enough. It was only when I got to the point where I couldn’t do anything further with it that I eventually released it. When writing it, I knew that this book was superior to Creatures, but there was still that part of me that couldn’t believe I had written it.

Before publishing, the only people to read it were myself and Alex. When she read it, she said it was amazing – so much so that she read it in around four hours because she couldn’t put it down. But there was still that niggly feeling in the back of my brain that it wasn’t all that good and the only way I would truly find out is getting it out so that others could read it.

Once The Next Stage was released, and I saw the reception it was getting – being likened to the Alex Cross books and Blade Runner – it was as if a switch had clicked in my head, one that went from “I’m not good enough to be doing this” to “This is what I should be doing because I’m good at it.” Overnight I was able to call myself an author. Don’t get me wrong, the imposter syndrome still creeps in occasionally – usually when I’m hitting a depressive episode, but for the most part, it’s gone.

As I stated earlier in the post, this is just my journey through this period, and others experience other things and ways they define it. If you feel like you can call yourself a writer/author, then you do it, don’t let anyone stop you from defining your work.