Thursday, 9 September 2010

Old Fart Wannabe Blog 11 - The Plan Grows in Scope


Well a lot has been happening. At least to my sluggish system it seems a lot .
On the personal front the new eye lens is a triumph. I can see clearer than at any time since I was a child. I can’t wait to get the other one done.

On the book front I have received my ISBN’s and one has been allocated to the Axe, the Shield and the Triton,  duly notified to Neilsens, with a publication date set as the 1st July 2011. 

The application was of course through my publishing organization -doesn’t that sound grand- Wyrd Sisters Publishing. The website and e-mail addresses have been secured for this before someone nicks them.

The second title to be published will be The Axe the Shield and the Halig Rood. 
This, as it is already written as the second part of the original tome will be published shortly after the publication of the Triton

Editing for both of these is ongoing and my clever daughter has already produced the covers. So there we are. The hobby just expands through the Parkinson’s Law that if uncontrolled it will fill all available time ( 'It had better not,' says Herself).



 I just love the cover pictures. They are definitely the best part of the books and the only reason probably that anyone will click on Amazon to find out more.

The next part of the plan is to complete A215 Creative Writing and A363 Advanced Creative writing. Successful completion will achieve two things, I hope. The first is to give me the skills to finalize the editing of the above two. The second is the award of the Creative Writing Diploma.

These courses are about to start and I have been joining in with the pre-course discussions. The downside of this is that I have become aware that all of my co-students appear to have wonderful web and blog sites. These sites have great graphics and are lively and decorative. They make this site look really impoverished and so its development into something more professional is a must. I’m embarrassed.

Take care out there Folks.


Friday, 13 August 2010

Old Fart Wannabe Blog 10 - The plan takes shape

Old Fart Wannabe Blog 10 ,  August 13th
So what have I learned so far?
The life of a book, my book, your book, consists of a number of linked events.

     The first is the writing of the book. The product of this stage must be stellar; or as near thereto as you can possibly get.
To improve your initial production, to make it the best your ability will allow, take a course, link with other aspiring writers, get tutor and peer group feedback and keep working at improvement.
One book I would recommend here is Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella another is
Nigel Watts -- Write a Novel - And Get it Published.
Another source I found useful is the Ken Follett’s novelist master class at this website
The good news is that the craft of writing can be learned.
The bad news is that this is the easy part. Each following part in the process, with one important exception, increases in difficulty.

     The second event is the editing of the book. Most writers on this topic agree that a professional editor is essential. The exceptions to this, who I have come across in my limited reading, are
J.A Konrath, The Newbie's Guide to Publishing (Everything A Writer Needs To Know), who says the writer should never pay for any part of the publishing process, only for the selling part.
The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writer) by Caroline Howard-Johnson who whilst strongly recommending using a professional editor admits the possibility of self editing and gives many of the tools necessary for doing so. This book is gold and should be read at least 20 times and committed to memory before embarking on the process of editing the manuscript yourself. It contains some great time saving hints for those using MS Word.
I would have accepted the advice to get professional help until I discovered that a freelance, due to the size of the Axe and the Shield would charge me about $4500; way beyond the range of a UK Bus Pass holder.

     The third event is design. A manuscript to be submitted to an agent or a manuscript ready for self-publishing must follow the accepted design rules for the sake of credibility with the reader if for no other reason. A simple exposition of the basic rules is contained in the Kevin Sivils Create Space book mentioned below.
A much more detailed treatment is contained in Perfect Pages by Aaron Shepard ( see link to website below). This is a must read if like me you don’t want to invest in expensive design software but have access to MS Word.

     The fourth event is publishing. In order to even get a trade publisher to look at your manuscript, unknown hopeful that you are, you must have an agent. I have made my feelings on this known earlier in the blog but for those who feel they want to go the traditional publishing route read the Newbie’s Guide, there is some great advice on strategies to use. Be warned though. The author of the Newbie’s Guide collected hundreds of rejection slips before striking the rich seam.
     In the Newbie’s Guide to Publishing by J.A Konrath  the author mentioned self-publishing but didn’t recommend it. But then why should he? He is published through traditional routes and gets six figure advances. However for insight and wisdom about the whole business of writing and getting published he is gold. His book, e-published for Kindle, at a giveaway price is a truly enormous collection of his blogs on the subject. For those without Kindle this collection of really useful information and suggestions can be accessed through the hyperlink above or Google. Just Google the title The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing and enter the site. There are many advertisements, quite properly, for this authors prodigious output of published thrillers, but the gold is in the right hand column; the archive of the blog. Here you will find the 1100 page content of the book, in blogs going back to 2005. Go mining there are nuggets there.
By the way, the e-publication of the Newbies Guide appears to have led to an epiphany moment. Read this author’s latest blog on the virtues of  e-Publishing.

     My decision to self publish, arrived at early on, arises from my conviction that I don’t have the time, the energy or the optimism to go through the depressing traditional process.
I decided to opt for self-publishing but not what is called vanity publishing. Most folk would say the difference between the two is slight but it isn't to me.
     Vanity publishing is where the author hands over a big wedge of cash in order to have a room in her house filled with indifferently printed and produced books.
     What I call self-publishing is where the quality of the book rests with the author who is responsible for writing, editing and designing the book, soliciting reviews, writing the blurb and delivering the cover picture. The author obtains the ISBN and publishes through her own publishing house (Mine is Wyrd Sisters Publishing as The Axe the Shield and the Triton and its sequel The Axe the Shield and the Halig Rood are paired novels in which the Fates have a major role). --- Yes, I looked at the printing costs and likely sale price of the original and decided to split the two parts of the Axe and the Shield running to 600 pages into two separate novels of about 300 pages each.

     The publication can be as an ebook or a pbook printed on demand. The printing arm of a major distributor carries out the POD and the book is advertised and distributed by that distributor. My initial choice was Amazon, the biggest and most accessible distributor in the world. For me the most important part initially is that there are no significant up front costs. After reading POD for Profit by Aaron Shepard I changed that decision to publishing direct through Lightning Source which distributes world wide including Amazon.
Books that are must reads here are:
Aiming at Amazon by Aaron Shepard, POD for Profit by Aaron Shepard
( google him or go to his website ),  he will let you download and read the draft of this book-- be in no doubt, if you are serious about self publishing, you will buy it.
Self-Publishing with Amazon's CreateSpace: A Resource Guide for the Author Considering Self-Publishing [Paperback] by Kevin Sivils
The Step-by-Step Guide to Self-Publishing … by C.Pinheiro et als
Print on Demand Book Publishing by Morris Rosenthal
The Create Space and Kindle publishing pages on Amazon also give a optimistically clear view of the ease of publication through this source.

     And now we come to the really hard part. Getting people to buy your book.
     First as many as possible must know of it and be sufficiently intrigued to part with cash for the opportunity to read it.

     Secondly it must be a good and satisfying read so that they pass this on by word of mouth. If it is badly written or a boring read it will die right there.

     Lets assume it is a good book, which a buyer will feel was money well spent. The self-published author’s job is to spread the news and sell enough of her/his good book that word of mouth will take over and sell more. There are many good books covering strategies for marketing and selling your book. Here are a selection:
Self Publishing … by Dan Poynter ( the original SP bible but now a little dated by the fast moving changes that are overtaking traditional publishing).
Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing For Authors …by Steve Weber
JAKonraths Blog mentioned above.
There are of course many more excellent books on the subject but consider the above your starters, most of the others you will discover along the way and can decide whether you want them or not.

Sorry to have been so prolix but the subject is worthy of a book, which is why so many have been written on it. I hope my rather hasty prĂ©cis of  some of my readings over the last few weeks is useful to you.
Bessaruck as they say and take care out there.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

OFW Blog 9 - One Small Step - May 18th 2010

May 18, 2010 by captnjames

So where are we? Oh yes. One positive step towards the plan coming together has been taken. I finished Part 1 of the creative writing course with the OU. There were several positive outcomes from this.

The most important was that I learned a lot and am now into my fifth editing of “The Axe and the Shield”. I do believe that it is all the better for it and may be approaching the stage where I can, without feeling too ashamed, pass it over to a competent copy editor to sort out punctuation and grammar — hopefully without too much   hysterical giggling ( I’m not sure whether I mean mine, from nervousness, or the editor’s from incredulity).

I also used an edited chapter for my final assessment and got a not too shabby grade and the remark from my tutor that –In her opinion– the book would be of interest to readers of literary historical fiction. So maybe, once edit number five and the copy- editing is completed I will be ready to participate fully in Slush Pile reader and   other collaborative review sites.

The next step, while I am here in the USA, is to get a US Tax Identification Number so that I can ePublish through Amazon next year. This may, by the time I am ready to publish, not be necessary. Amazon already publish in the UK with CreateSpace so the pBook side of the process is covered but I am not sure about the eBook  side through Kindle — so belt an braces — I will get together all that I need to ePublish over here.

I am going through a total immersion period of study of self-publishing. I have, more or less covered the writing part of the process. I am working on the editing and rewriting part ( without a significant increase in words the Axe and the Shield has increased from 17 chapters to 25 as I reorganise and simplify). After that I will need to redesign the book itself. For that I will consult with my daughter the designer. So perhaps that can be done sometime between when I get back to the UK and when the Bristoi Eye Hospital fits me out with new eyes.

The final part is distribution and promotion. Amazon, I hope, will deal with distribution but cannot of course distribute where there is no demand. That publicizing and promotion will fall to me.

In October I will be starting on parts 2 and 3 of my Creative Writing studies with the Open University. These will finish next May and may all end in tears. Against their advice I am taking the two in parallel rather than consecutively as they recommend. The reason is that I wish to qualify for the Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing (because it sounds so specific to my purpose).This is being withdrawn by the end of 2011.

At the end of these studies, where I accept I may crash and burn, I will commence my last course, a level one course in Web design. Anyone who has read this blog will know that I desperately need training in electronic presentation. Everything I have read states that while writing is easy, publishing even easier, getting anyone to read what has been written is HARD and needs much work, some expertise and clear focus.

At sometime, in a future Blog I will list those Self Publishing books that I have found most useful.

Take care out there, watch out for alligators ( they found a 10 foot one in my local Gas Station last week). Who knows where you might find one.

Friday, 9 April 2010

OFW Blog 8 The plan progresses - 9th April 2010


     I haven't had anything to say for a long time I know.
Does that prove that only idle people blog, or merely that I only blog when I'm idle. I believe that it is the last.
     What I suppose I am slyly trying to work in is that I have been busy. Now there's a change. I am of course only talking about my bower of peace in the early mornings. For the rest of the day herself always does her best to keep me busy; it's a kind of religious duty with her. The last couple of weeks though the workday hours have been more peaceful than the early morning ones. That's because we are suffering from 'Plane Flu'. Have you notice whenever you come off of a long flight you end up feeling ill for some days. The airline companies have invented this fiction of jet-lag to explain it but it sure walks like flu, and talks like flu and feels like flu from breathing recycled germs from three hundred other people, so as far as I'm concerned its just another one of the many guises of flu'. Its plane flu. 
     I know that because herself has got it as well. As any man will tell you if she didn't have it and I did it would be  'man flu', the name women use to trivialize the living hell that men go through when they catch a cold.
     Anyway, enough of that; part one of my publishing plan draws to a close. My first course with the Open University is nearly over and will be when my last assignment has been received, marked and returned. The next two courses are already importuning me to pay my fees; once done I shall be ready for the really hard work to start in October.
     So what have I learned so far, other than that people who are trying to write are all really splendid, helpful people. I suppose the most important thing is that I am now much clearer about what I am trying to do. I understand why writing is harder for a writer than anyone else. I understand why writing is painting with words. Most of all I now understand I have a whole lot of editing and rewriting to do on the Axe and the Shield. I also understand the pain of writing and editing to word limits as I have excised and expunged much loved phrases of which I was proud, in order to meet limits. Oh for the days when it was not a sin to be prolix.
     I have also discovered much more about e-publishing an essential part of 'The Plan'. I would recommend for initial reading Steve Weber's book ePublish, I found it full of goodies.
    A good website for publicizing your book is There is also one where if enough members vote for publication of your book the sponsors of the site will publish it. This excellent and sociable site is:
     I would also recommend the Amazon site, where there is a stack of information on publishing through Kindle, how that relates to iPhone ( and presumably eventually iPad). There is also the Amazon Print on Demand service which means no real money up front and no room in your house stacked with thousands of unsaleable books. So even the 'e' hater, paper lover, market is covered.
     So that's a relief, no more walks through the park for me. I can put the raincoat away and bid agents goodbye, which isn't hard as they didn't talk to me anyway.
    So what happened to working to limits you might say. Well forgive me being prolix just this once, I've been let out of school.
     One last thing, for people like me who are having trouble breaking into blogging, the tip site I left on one of my blogs was dead for some reason. Here, I hope is a live one.

    Take care out there; watch out for alligators.

Hmm -- I still haven't figured out why the above links are dead. Well folks , copy and paste them into your search engine. Believe me they are both very worthwhile sites.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Old Fart Wannabe Blog 7 - Inside the OU

Entry for 10th February 2010

Have you ever seen Dr.Who? For those outside the U.K. who haven’t it’s a Sci Fi series where the hero travels around in a box, about the

size of a large dog kennel on the outside but with an inside about the size of a small cinema. I am now discovering that the study of the

“Craft” is a bit like that.
I am ploughing my way through my first course, a mere introduction, intended to prepare me for serious study later in the year and I keep turning up treasure. 

There is a quote running around in my head, I don’t know from where, maybe some old T.V. ad.” I didn’t know there was so much in it”. That’s how I feel about this serious, as opposed to casual, writing business.

 I didn’t know, for instance that my chunk of words, my pre-dawn brainchild has 
a wholelist of genre sub-categories to follow the main Historical one. There are, for instance, ‘action’, ‘adventure’, ‘magic realism’ and one I’d never heard of, ‘maximalism’. The
last one I couldn’t even find in my on-line copy of Webster’s, that’s how specialised it is; fortunately the OU has a glossary for all of these categories.
I also discovered, from the writings of ’proper’ authors, the difficulties experienced with titles. I’ll probably come back to this at a later date, when I get nearer to publication. If there is anyone out there I may even ask your advice, conduct a poll, whatever. For the moment I did an Amazon and Google search and, as far as I can see, my provisional title ” The Axe and the Shield” is untaken. My daughter, the graphic designer,in kicking around possible cover designs relevant to 

the text ( which she still hasn't finished reading) thought maybe “The Cross and the 

Hill”  ( two of the mute characters in the yarn)  might be a possibility. ‘Herself”, on the other hand, tends to refer to it as ‘That Damn Book”. I could see that, as an attractive possibility, but rejected it; that title would perhaps raise expectations of humour, doomed to disappointment. The tome is not
a funny book, not intentionally anyway.
The sum of my advice so far to wannabe-published authors? If you’ve already done it —well get you— if not, sign up to a writing course. You’ll be surprised how much is in it. And you meet some lovely people.
Take care out there,


Friday, 15 January 2010

Old Fart Wannabe Blog 6 - Enter the OU


Enter the O.U. ( Bless em)

So, the software problem resolved itself in two ways. In the first place the provided version of FirstClass (8.2) worked fine but    without ‘Bells and Whistles’. In the second place I downloaded a free upgrade of FirstClass 10.1 from the Internet, which came with  lots of coloured graphics.

This may seem simplicity itself for the completely computer savvy but what’s a small step for you is a giant step for the average old fart who needs to get a twelve year old child to set up his TV dibber. Anyway us old guys aren’t as quick as we once were, and some of us weren’t that quick to start with.

On the desk-top of this software is a ‘Practice Forum’ which gives new students a place to play and acquire and practice skills in on-line communication. I can see your eyes glazing again. Relax, I’m not going to go into the details of how I learned to do things you will probably consider achingly boring. You wanna find out? Pay your own fee and try not to look an absolute dope in front of a bunch of complete strangers, then you’ll feel your adrenalin run.

A couple of mistakes I did make that could be avoided. Checking out how to send attachments I didn’t pay attention to file size and to my surprise saw my memory allocation disappear; now I know what the baby feels like when the candy takes off. I got it back but it took me quite a while to figure it out. Now of course I will be careful to always use minimum quality and maybe the built in Mac compression.
The other mistake, which is ongoing, was not to appreciate that time on FirstClass is rationed. The site is so complex, there is so much to explore that time just slips away. I was surprised when I logged out to find that after a couple of voyages I had used over a third of my total allocation. I hope this is for the ‘Practice Forum’ and not for the course, or things are going to get pretty monosyllabic from now on.

So there we are: I’ve listened to the audio disc of successful authors talking about aspects of their work and works; I’ve read the printed folio of extracts from successful, even famous, novels; I’ve got a passing familiarity with the on-line system, a familiarity which will almost certainly desert me when I have to use it in real time with real people.

Now I suppose I had better go back and do it all again. The next Blog will be when I am well into the course and I will tell you whether my pulse has dropped back to its normal 150 a minute (just kidding its really 180, sorry I meant 80).
Take care of yourselves,

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Old Fart Wannabe Blog 5 - To Blog or Not To Blog

     Well, I haven’t started the course yet but I thought I would really like to mention my entry into blogging for those who are following my dumb plan of action and who, like me, think it’s all going to be easy.
     So far the easiness escapes me. It may be that it is easy and that I am further gone into senility than I thought. But then I would hardly spot that would I?

     In my simplicity, knowing nothing about blogging, I thought that I would open up a blog, have a domain and my blog name would pop up somewhere near the top of the list in all of the worlds major search engines.

Imagine the excitement with which I, naively flew to Google after publishing my first Blog in Wordpress. Imagine my puzzlement when I failed to find it there; or in Yahoo or for that matter in Wordpress ( except through my Homepage).

     Quick as a flash, well actually, slowly, with some hair tearing and a great many rough words I managed to erect duplicate blogs in: Bloggers( Google); Yahoo Blogs as well as the newly published one in Wordpress.
Surprise, surprise, there was still no response or success in searching with either of the search engines. After all, how many Old Fart Wannabe Blogs are there? Surely a name of such singular distinction should pop up right away.

     Well let me tell you, in a world populated by billions there is nothing singular or distinctive, there are many Old Farts blogging away out there, and also many Wannabe’s some of whom are old farts.

     Checking out the forums in Wordpress I came across a really cool, and useful site, by name: Check it out before you start. I didn’t know search engines prioritise by traffic density although it should have been obvious.

     So write lots of blogs. Contact lots of people and leave links so that they can visit you back, even if only out of curiosity or to show support, the blogging community, it seems, is mutually supportive. Get all your friends and on-line relatives to check out your blog and leave comments. Maybe then, in six weeks time a search machine will deign to notice you and your site will start to grow organically.

PS. With some small excitement I can report that my Blog has popped up on Google. But you knew that didn’t you? That’s how you got here.

Bessaruck as they say, somewhere or other.


Friday, 8 January 2010

Old Fart Wannabe Blog 4 - The Plan part 1

Old Fart Wannabe Blog 4 – The Plan part 1

January 8, 2010 by captnjames

The Plan – part 1: Learning the Trade

For new readers who don’t want to go back and check out Blogs 1,2 and 3 here is a review of what has gone before.

    O.F.W. stands for Old Fart Wannabe and I’ve written a book, which I would like to publish. Having written it without one jot of knowledge about the craft of writing or the art, for that matter, of finding an  agent and publishing, I made a plan to rectify these oversights. (To see the full plan in all its logical simplicity see OFW Blog 3.)

    It pleases me to announce that the first step on this ‘Journey of One Thousand Miles’ has been taken. In exchange for a sum of money the OU has enrolled me on a level 1 course, A174 Start Writing Fiction. This commences shortly, the materials arriving very promptly after I paid my fees and filled in the (online) forms.

    I had a small fright when all the stuff arrived and I unpacked it. There was an included software disc, an audio disc and hard copy. All seemed fine until I read the booklet that came with the software disc. Eyes bugging, Aaaargh, Tom and Jerry fashion, the booklet said the OU software worked on PCs but not on Macs!
Well, I’m a Mac user from way back. I have a junkyard of Macs. In one corner of my desk is an old blue G3; under the desk lurks a graphite G4; both still plugged in and waiting on the day when my MacBook ( the best Laptop ever produced, in my view), worn out by a life of constant toil, rolls over belly up, so that they can perform their long awaited duties as back up machines. “NOT ON MACS!!??.” Splutter splutter, “I’ve never heard such a thing; you are kidding me; get outta town!!”

    Anyway, after calming down and wasting a lot of time looking up the cost of Windows 7 and VM Fusion or Parallels to work alongside my OSX Leopard I found all is not as it seems. In the first place, having uploaded the software disc anyway, just to suck it and see, I found that it all seemed to work. I then discovered an admirable OU student-generated web sight that listed the courses that used software that would work on the Mac. It turns out that the three courses I need, to get a grounding in my newly chosen craft, perhaps because they are text based, all use software that will also work on Mac providing assignments can be sent in, in Doc. Format. I can do that because I have Word for Mac on board and in fact the “Axe and the Shield” is written in Doc. Format and copied into PDF.

    Incidentally, the three courses mentioned above, if satisfactorily completed will yield enough Units to achieve a Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing. Not only, hopefully, will I learn enough to bring the “Axe and the Shield” up to a publishable standard but I will get ‘letters’, ‘DipLCW (Open)’ to tell me that I am qualified to tell myself, “I can do this”. Cool!!

Take care of yourselves,

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Old Fart Wannabe Blog 3 - The Plan

January 6, 2010

O.F.Wannabe Blog  3        –      January 6th 2010

The Publishing Plan
So I sat and thought about how I could find out whether my chunk of words made a story worth being read by anyone but myself; and, if not, how it could be made good enough, and if it ever reached that stage how it could be published.
Of course I had passed it by my family. ‘Herself’ read it by the chapter as it came off the printer. “ I can’t tell in bits,” she said, “ I’m sure it will be better when it’s finished and I can read it through at a sitting.”

    When it was finished she thought it was “OK but don’t keep pushing it on me, I’ve got things to do.” But by then she had read it, all 572 pages, twice, bless her, and so I wasn’t surprised to hear: “No I wont read the proof-read copy, I’ve already read the bloody thing twice.”

    My daughter on the other hand was not jaded by over exposure and was keen to help but, whilst a brilliant graphic designer is not the worlds fastest reader. She loved “Lord of the Rings” but took two years to read it. Not that she’s a slow reader per se, its just that she works very long hours, unwinds with a glass or two, or three of red wine over dinner and then reads for four or five minutes (or seconds) before falling fast asleep; so, not a lot of help there.

Here is the plan:-

1. Stop faffing about and go and learn the trade. I google searched and came up with Creative Writing courses with the OU, one of the world beating gems in this wonderful country of ours. Hard work and rigorous study make up the down side, whilst the fact that it can all be done on-line fits perfectly with my traveling life=style, and is the unarguable upside.

2. With the aid of intense study, hard work and hopefully some professional and peer group criticism, prepare the book for publication. This will certainly mean, revision, rewriting and extensive editing.

3. Decide on the title. At the moment it is rather obviously entitled “ The Axe and the Shield. “ It may end up with this title, unless something really clever occurs to me.

4. Self publish as an e-book through Amazon, probably Kindle. There are hurdles to be cleared there but I have hopes.

5. Carry out self-advertising on-line through. Blogs, U-Tube and Facebook, starting a few months prior to publication.

    So there we are, a plan with an anticipated completion date of Summer 2011. ( that’s what my first run through on Microsoft Project tells me anyway). I will add to this blog as the plan develops, going through difficulties encountered and, hopefully overcome, as time goes by and each stage is tackled.
Take care of yourselves,


Tuesday, 5 January 2010

O.F.Wannabe Blog 2

                                    The Agent


 So here we are. I did a little superficial investigation on Google and came up with some Agents who accept on-line submissions.

I hesitated a long time, about a day or two (at my age that’s a long time) until I sent a sample off as an attachment. Believe me, if you’ve never done it, it’s a bit like making the decision to walk naked through the park except for an unbuttoned raincoat. Not something to be done unless you are driven by a compulsion to get your name in the papers. Anyway, for my particular walk in the park nobody came. Well its not quite like that, it’s much worse actually. It’s as if lots of folk were hiding in the bushes, saw me, had a little snigger and then ignored me and carried on with whatever they were doing.

My submission disappeared like a pebble dropped down a well. There was a slight splashing sound, for it’s receipt was acknowledged by e-mail ( a great courtesy for which I am grateful) and then silence as my pebble sank to the bottom of the well. Never to be seen or heard of again.

After some reading and research, which I should have done before rather than after the event, I found my experience was the norm for perfectly good reasons. Some sources recommend: careful researching of agents for compatibility with the work to be placed.  Didn’t do that, guilty as charged; preparing a list of at least fifteen such Agents all to beapproached simultaneously. Didn’t do that, guilty as charged.

Anyway, I don’t think my tender ego could stand permanent silence from 15 naked walks in the park. What would I do in my morning haven then? I really don’t want to start another book until I have some quantifiable closure on this one and 15 sets of silence are the same as fifteen zeros; a total of nothing; or worse, fifteen sets of sniggers.

So --- do I need an Agent?  My research reveals some say yes, some say no. I don’t know. The truth is I don’t know much at all: about the trade of writing; about agents and publishing; and mostly whether the quarter million words I have strung together are a load of rubbish or worth reading, entertaining, and hence publishable.

I need to go into my haven and think this over and make a plan.

Take care of yourselves,


Sunday, 3 January 2010

Old Fart Wannabe Blog

Who is OFW?
Well, here goes. My blog sign off is O.F.W, what does it mean?
The O.F. stands for Old Fart, and that’s honest at least, even if everything else shades or exaggerates the truth. As a new blogger in his ( yes I am male so there we have another truth ) 70th year what else could I be?
The W stands for Wannabe. Wannabe what? Perhaps here we need a little background. Not too much, I imagine your eyes glazing already.
Background stuff
I retired from working for my daily bread some time ago and took to the idle-life with ease. Against what many people told me would happen I found no difficulty in avoiding the usual retirement trap of switching from full time paid to full time unpaid work. Being unsociable by nature was a great advantage in this.
This of course did not cut any ice with the ‘Trouble and Strife’ and I soon found myself making the transition from Chief Executive to Chief Scullion.
In my days of pot washing and towing the shopping trolley there was, I found, a permanent window; a perpetual holiday from the daily drudge. You see I tend to wake up and peep through bleary eyes at the world at about 5 AM whereas herself sleeps on not only until morning has broken but until it has been swept up and tidied away.
During this blessed time of release from the daily round, this blissful glade in the forest of domestic chores I found time to sit and let my mind wander.
A few years ago I visited the village in the West Country of England where I lived as a young child. In the church I found a pamphlet, a flyer, with some historical facts about the village, and the hill which overshadows it. One of these, concerned a relic, unearthed there which had loomed so large in Anglo-Saxon minds it had become the war cry of the English (and Danish) army at Hastings ( the battle, not the seaside resort), “Halig Rood!!” ( Holy Cross).
One morning, sat in my glade I thought about this; puzzling where this relic, this cross, might have come from and how it ended up buried under a slab in the middle of nowhere. In my mind I wove the beginnings of a story around it. I researched and expanded on it and then I resolved to write it down. I started to write it until it started to write me and I ended up 570 pages later with a novel about the ‘butterfly effect’ of fate.
I understand how pretentious that sounds and would quite understand if you clocked out right now.. What I mean is that somebody can do something daft and unthinking, like me writing this for instance. Someone, somewhere, might read it, and be thinking about how to get a window of peace and quiet in their own life and, not paying attention, get knocked over by the chauffeur driven car of some high mucky-muck. The passenger misses an appointment, something doesn’t happen that should and the whole world changes, probably slightly, perhaps radically; it all depends on the reach of the chain of domino’s toppled, and that depends on the Fates. Or so my story proposes.
So here I sit with this massive thing, 240,000 electronic words on my laptop and that’s where the Wannabe comes from. I’ve written this and now I want to publish it. I wannabe a published writer___ me, and all the others like me out there.
So now I will keep this diary of how I get on with this. If I fail then perhaps someone else can avoid the holes I fall down. If I succeed perhaps it will help someone else to hop up on the hay cart.
I will update this blog as things happen or are expected to and don’t.
Got to go. I’m off to the Quacks this morning. I want him to look into my left eye. I think I might have a cataract coming. My left eye is foggier than my right one. Old age, as they say, is not for sissies.
Take care of yourselves, if there is anyone out there reading this; here be cannibals (or dragons or great fishes, the poison fog, the edge of the world). Remember, even bed with the duvet pulled over is a dangerous place, if the Fates have it in for you.