Tag Archives: revising

And a kindness of brother-in-law

As I have mentioned previously, my brother-in-law Peter – pedant-in-residence and all-round good-guy – was immensely helpful when I was writing King’s Ransom, carefully reading the draft, and picking up sundry mistakes and inconsistencies.

Unfortunately, I have not asked him to do a similar job on my blog, which is a pity because once I published the previous post he emailed me, pointing out that “awkwardly, a group of ravens is an ‘unkindness’ of ravens, not a kindness.” He’s correct, of course, so black-mark Wilson for not checking.

In my own defence, I am still going to cherish “a kindness” as the collective noun for all the people – including Peter – who helped me get King’s Ransom published.


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Setting fire to paper in the name of art

[Originally published 4 April 2013]

It’s all getting terribly exciting. I’ve finished revising King’s Ransom, and I am going to give it one last go-through before I publish it. Well, assuming I can work out how to publish it, that is. I’ve been having all sorts of issues with Booktango, so I think I am going to have a go with Kindle directly.

Meantime, I have come up with a new cover idea, and one which I think will work. It’s also using the binary codes for the letters of King’s Ransom, but with a flame burning them. Today was a lovely sunny day, and I spent a happy couple of hours outside on the terrace setting fire to print-outs of the cover design and taking pictures. Not sure what the neighbours would have thought.

If I can find a way of embedding pictures in this blog I will post them. Meantime, I need to do some minor retouching and cropping before getting back to the book formatting.

Updated May 23, 2013: Below are the photos:

Cover experiment 1 Cover experiment 2 Cover experiment 3 Cover experiment 4

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About to publish and be damned

[Originally published, as part of a longer post, 16 March 2013]

I’ve finished revising King’s Ransom, and I am playing around with other ideas. I’ve found a site called Booktango which offers free formatting for all kinds of eBook, and I am going to experiment with that for a while to see how easy it is to get the book online.

I’ve found that I want to keep tweaking the text, and I wonder if this will continue if and when I ever get the thing published. I say “if and when” but I am fairly sure it will be “when”. I’ve been a bit worried that I might be making myself look foolish among those who know and love me (“Why on Earth did Martyn think he was a novelist? Who is going to tell him?”) But I’ve decided that if that is the general reaction, it will be fairly easy to unpublish the book.

Meantime, I have decided that I need to start a new blog specifically for King’s Ransom. Apparently it will be helpful for promotion. More of that anon.

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A ransom that cannot be paid?

[Edited version of post originally published 7 February 2013]

I’m ploughing through the comments on King’s Ransom, and exchanging ideas with Peter, and with Andy, on how things are developing. I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall with one particular issue, which concerns the “ransom” as originally written:  Peter says my idea is something that is simply impossible.

I’ve been trying to argue that it is a novel, so in that sense it’s all impossible, but as Peter points out, even the impossible has to be believable.

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Another critical reader

[Originally published, as part of a longer post, 31 January 2013]

I spent a couple of days incorporating Andy’s corrections to King’s Ransom, which in turn involved rewriting some sections of the book. I then sent it off to brother-in-law Peter, and got an email back saying he was “engaging with it already”. This was great news, and I waited patiently for his comments, which I knew would be different in type from Andy’s but equally valuable for exactly that reason.

I wasn’t wrong. Peter’s corrections arrived today, along with a whole list of suggestions and propositions. In general he likes the novel, but several of his comments will, like Andy’s, involve rewrites – and these are likely to take more than a couple of days. Still, I think it will be worthwhile in the end.

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I am definitely going to publish. I think

[Originally published 17 January 2013]

I had a long chat on the phone this morning with my friend Andy, who has read my revised draft of King’s Ransom. Andy and I met through our shared devotion to Leicester City, and we’ve known one another for about 16 years. His comments were really helpful – both constructive and instructive, as I might have expected. Aside from some literal errors, he pointed to a number of plot inconsistencies that occurred to him as he was reading the draft and – which I found interesting – some language uses that he said were out of character. He also offered a few insights into culture and environments in Asia that will also be helpful.

But he was very encouraging and said I should definitely go ahead – if only for my own satisfaction. Before I do that, however, I am going to get someone else to read it, once I’ve incorporated Andy’s ideas. My brother-in-law Peter probably doesn’t like this kind of book, but he will be wonderfully pedantic about spotting anything that’s not quite right. Just the man for me.

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Notes from a distant past

King's Ransom Plot Notes

[Originally published 30 November 2012]

I decided to have a go at writing the novel that ended up as King’s Ransom when I was on holiday about 20 years ago – in fact, staying not far from where I now live. I’d bought a few paperbacks with me, one of which was one of the worst pieces of fiction I have ever read – worse, even, than The Da Vinci Code, which is saying something. Everything about it was dreadful: plot, characterisation, story development, sentence construction – everything. And, being a professional writer, I thought I should be able to do better than that. That was the genesis of King’s Ransom.

I mentioned a few months ago that I have a single copy of the original draft of the novel, one of a number that I printed to give to friends and relations to read. The draft, marked in my friend Barry Franklin’s neat red hand, was in a box file with a lot of other papers, which I was looking through this morning. Among the papers is a notebook in which I jotted down the original plot outline. It’s quite an interesting document, to me at least. One odd thing, which I had forgotten, is that the hero’s original name was Steve Fuller rather than James King. Some of the other character names remain the same, as does the name of an invented country in what was – at the time – newly independent Soviet East Asia.

I’m getting on OK with the revision, in between writing blogs about social media on the one hand and electronic components on the other. At times, being a writer is lots of fun.

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