Wednesday, 20 January 2016

(vol 3) CHAPTER 01 – “Drafting (From The Beginning)”

It’s been two weeks since I last put up a post. What ever have I been up to?


I’m happy to report that all I’ve been working on in the last two weeks, other than a couple of Flash Fiction stories, is the next draft of CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE RISING DEAD.

Since New Year I’ve been going through the three CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE WORLD stories that I wrote in 2015. I spent a lot of time scribbling down notes, fleshing out characters, and working on the plot in more detail. I also went back and built up the history, sticking pins in all the main story beats that occur to our main characters, and what events get all the pieces in place before we open book one. I’d had a rough plan for everything before writing the stories, but January has been about getting it all much more concrete.

Once that was all done, it was onto the scary second draft.


First things first, I needed to plot out the story beats; what each chapter was about. My NaNo draft had holes in places, and pointless chapters in others. I needed to find out what was broken and either mend it, or remove it completely.

So I now have a spreadsheet with all the chapters listed, all the plots linked, and all the characters paths and interactions laid out. It’s an easy over view, and it lets me untangle the story. It has helped highlight some issues with a particularly unnecessary character, as well as a couple of scenes that messed with the pacing.

With a plan in hand, I got on with the rewriting.


Normally, when I write, whether it’s Flash length or novel length, I prefer to get the first draft down by hand. There’s nothing better than grabbing an empty notebook (or, if I’m in the mood, just buying a brand new one), a decent pencil, and just letting an idea splurge onto the page

But for CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE WORLD there is an issue with this, one that has caused me to do things a little backwards.

You see, the biggest chunk of my writing, in any given year, is accomplished thanks to NaNoWriMo each November (as well as Camp NaNo in July). This is when I ignore editing, step over plot holes, and worrying about naming all the characters later. But there isn’t much time in my day to hit my daily word count by hand and type the story up so that it can be verified on the NaNo website. So for these two events I always type the first draft.

Now I could have just printed the first draft off and started a new file for draft two. But I read an article about the creative flow that is afforded by handwriting your fiction that doesn’t work as well when typing. So I decided to hand write my second draft, or more accurately, draft 1.5.

There’s a lot to change in CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE RISING DEAD. I wrote the first draft back in July last year, so I not only have all the things I put into books two and three last November to think about and link in, but six months of mulling book one over and over in my head.

Stuff has changed. And I’m loving it.


The biggest change was working out how to tie the secondary villain into the plot, and not having him just being a bad guy for the sake of it. That’s all I had from the first draft; a man who's evil because I needed him to be. But that’s a hollow villain, one that doesn’t test the hero or engage the reader. So I worked on him, treating him as if he was my main character. Why was he angry? Why did he want to hurt the hero?

Meanwhile other characters slowly began to wind themselves into the plot, the history, and the bigger world of the novels. Bit part players were spliced together to fulfil multiple roles while cutting down the cast size.

Chapters have been reordered several times over. The cemetery scene that grew from the first Flash Fiction piece back in January last year has jumped around the story so much before eventually being cut – and then put back in.

It’s hard work, with several restarts stressing me out this week (a new scene solved several early plot problems until I spotted that it broke the story and had to go) but it’s getting there now. It’s becoming whole, and it won’t be long before I have something that I’m eager and proud to show to people.
Of course I’ll then have to type it up again.

I do make hard work for myself.


And that’s all, for now. I’m just going to carry on using my work lunch breaks to get the story down in order.

How about you? What is your process for the second draft? Do you prefer writing or typing? Let us know in the comments below.

Next post I’ll be taking a break from talking about my current WIP so that I can bring to your attention the pending release of the third (yes third!) FlashDogs anthology, due out Feb 8th.

Until then, get writing.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

(vol 3) PROLOGUE – “This Is What's Going To Happen”


It’s a whole New Year, and that can mean only one thing; time to make a writing plan that will have no resemblance to what my 2016 output ends up being (though I hope not).

My first year here ended up a mess of not really knowing what I wanted to do as I found my feet, took in a lot of info, and discovered a new way to write.

Last year I had my ideas and a more focused plan, but new things popped up and took over, leaving me with nothing close to completed.

I really hope that this year is THE year that I finally get something out there before you, the general book buying public. I want to release my own book.


Last year ended on a downer with my two main sources of output (Flash! Friday and Micro Bookends) closing down. These two sites kept me writing, making sure that no matter what else I was/wasn’t doing, I was always creating something on a weekly basis. Fifty two weeks in a year, and in 2015, I wrote something in every single one of them.

But they are gone now.

Sure, there are other Flash Fiction sites out there, but I’m standing back at the moment. Because I’m going to use this space I’ve now found myself in to do just one thing; write. Or more specifically, concentrate on writing one project.


It was because I was writing a couple of Flash Fiction stories and a blog post every week that I never really noticed I wasn’t following my plan(s). When you’re not writing something, you kinda notice. But when you’re always writing, the big project just hides behind all the little ones until it’s too late.

It’s because of this that I’ve made some changes. First off, I will be altering the regularity of these blog posts from the weekly to the fortnightly. I’ll also be focusing more on the stages of the project I’m currently working on as opposed to the actual work itself. Because who wants spoilers (and until it’s out there, who knows what the hell I’m talking about anyway)? So as I edit, and revise, and design a cover, and upload for purchase, I’ll talk about these stages each step of the way, sharing my experiences; the pros and the cons. Hopefully this will help new fellow writers in the same way that other blogs have helped me.


So what is the plan for this year? Simple. One novella, somewhere between now and December 31st. 

Nothing else.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I’ll actually be working on three novellas, the first three CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE WORLD adventures (I hope you’re not sick of me talking about these guys yet). These three are parts of a whole, as it were, so I want to work on all three close enough that I can drop little bits throughout them all, keeping them nicely linked. But at the end of the day, it’s that all important first novella that is my main focus. Because I need to get a book out there. I need to get over that first hurdle.

And that’s all there is to it. I’m not planning anything else. Nothing. No other projects, no short stories, no compilations.

Okay, again I lied. These things are all in the back of my head. I have two ideas for compilations, and two standalone projects that are itching to get written. I’m thinking about them, sure. But that’s all. Not a written word will be for them, not until CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE RISING DEAD is released. Because I’m fed up of talking about it. I’m not getting any younger. I have so much sat in tatty first draft versions, so the first big step is done. Now I have to punch The Fear of Editing square in the face and just stomp through it.

I need to write. I need to edit. I need to publish.

And 2016 is the year it all happens.

That’s a fact.

How about you? What are your plans for 2016? Is there a project you know you need to get out there in the next twelve months? Will 2016 be the year you lose your publishing virginity?

I’d love to hear from you either in the comments below, or on twitter (@BrianSCreek).