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After a heavy session of writing today I finally crossed the first milestone in the creation of my second manuscript: I passed the 20,000 word mark. That might not seem like much to some of you but it’s quite a lot for me. I can still remember writing the first word of the first book, so to think I’ve come this far is quite surprising sometimes.

When I started this book I had a relatively clear sequence of events planned out in my head that would lead from beginning to end (I wrote the end first so that probably helped.) but as they did constantly throughout the first book my characters have pretty much cannibalised most of what i wanted to do: Where i would’ve said “Turn right.” they said “Turn left.” So even now after just the first 20,000 words i have a part of a story that is almost unrecognisable from how I thought it’d look.

That can be good though I suppose – It helped in the first book, some of the best stuff in RISING came when the characters hijacked the story and did whatever the hell it was they wanted to do!

I’m definitely happy my characters are so willing to take charge like that actually. they could just be lazy and do whatever i tell them to but the fact they are semi autonomous yet fictional beings has made this process much easier: Sometimes! I would like to know where they’re going sometimes and they better not mess with my already completed ending because I quite like it. But with another 140,000ish words to go I suppose anything can happen. Stay tuned! 

I watched the season 3 premiere of The Walking Dead last night, I like many others waited for it anxiously. Excited for the journey to continue and excited at the seemingly endless possibilities that the show had set up after a strong first 2 seasons. Was it worth the wait? The short answer is no, not really. The long answer is as follows:

Despite the episode containing more than an ample amount of zombie slaughtering it fell short on many other fronts starting with the fact that at the end of season 2 the prison the group now occupies was shown on screen after the camera panned across from Rick and the group in their makeshift camp. Either that shot was a complete fabrication on behalf of the producers and the group was in fact nowhere near the prison OR Rick and co have suddenly become the lousiest post zombie apocalypse survivors ever because they failed to notice a massive prison right behind them.

The alternative is they spent months travelling around only to basically wind up back where they started if the prison shown at the end of season 2 actually was their prison. The way that was dealt with in this episode was not at all satisfactory to me.

Upon finding the prison the group secures a small area of the yard including a guard tower or two from where they could keep watch and have at least some semblance of safety and security for a few days at least. This satisfies everyone except Rick who seems to have suddenly transformed himself into Shane and can see no issue with basically forcing a clearly tired and exhausted group of people into a hard bate against a small army of zombies – something Shane would have done and old Rick would have advised against (At least until they were better rested and had a plan.)

rick leads most of the group leaving Carl, Herschel, Lori and Carol to distract some walkers and skewer them from behind the safety of a chain link fence – smart right? to leave the most vulnerable with some sort of safety measure while the “fighters” do the dangerous thing and clear the path.

Once the group gets to the safety and security of a single cell block (Solitary?) they should be content for a while right? No Shane 2.0 immediately declares they need to go looking for food and med supplies (A good thing yes but really are they robots, they need rest.) Rick used to care about the group now it seems he’s not happy unless he is putting them all in danger and i think he’s become addicted to zombie killing kind of like Shane was.

They did get some rest but as soon as he could Rick had them assemble for a jaunt through a still unsecured likely zombie infested prison in search of food and medical supplies. Much like the initial battle this situation called for the most vulnerable to stay in the relative safety of the secured area but for some reason which nobody will ever be able to logically explain to me Rick decided to let Hershel, the group’s ageing (and only) doctor come along – WHY! It makes no sense to risk the only qualified medical person you’re likely to find for a while especially when you have a heavily pregnant woman to think of – leave the medical professional with those who may need medical help or bring him on a dangerous zombie hunt, hmmm hard choice – NOT! Maybe Hershel could shoot which was useful but so could Carl so why not take him? he’s faster and he can handle being in such a situation. then Hershel could stay with Lori in case shed did need help, if the others got into trouble they’d know where to find him and once the way to the medical stuff was clear then they could go get him.

So they take him along and even Stevie Wonder could see what was going to happen – He literally walks straight into a zombie who makes a quick meal out of his leg (apparently he decided to ignore the basic rules of zombie apocalypse survival – You see one on the ground you walk AROUND it NOT over it. And while we’re talking rules here, there were 6 of them yet they somehow managed to lose sight of Hershel – i remember when they always watched each other’s backs yet here hershel was able to split from the group call out for his daughter and go unnoticed by anyone until he was screaming courtesy of the zombie eating his leg! Nice job Rick!

They drag him into a conveniently located mess hall where Rick channeled Shane again and started hacking away at Hershel’s leg with an apparently very blunt axe like it was no big deal, no words or emotions of any kind just chop chop chop chop. Even if he doesn’t turn into a zombie the blood loss from the crude amputation is surely going to kill him then regardless of what medical supplies they find they’ll have nobody to use them. Good job again Rick!

That scene was really cold and not well done at all.

In between everything happen ing at the prison we got a few glimpses of Andrea and Michonne hiding out in some abandoned town – Well Andrea was hiding while Michonne was actually doing something – more zombies killing – YAY! But there was no explanation of how they got there, where they were, where they were going or anything that had happened. would it have really been so difficult to add some depth to the characters there?

Finally back to Carl, while I did enjoy his increased presence in the episode and how they’ve apparently set him up to have a bigger more important role this year his interactions with Amy were verging on uber creepy territory. When they both walked into that cell together for one second I feared they were going to start playing a grotesque game of tonsil hockey. Even if you ignore the legalities surrounding that relationship (If that is in fact where it’s heading) how can AMC even think it’s a good idea to have the characters “go there.” morally? Maybe I’m reading too much into it and that’s not where it was going at all in which case I’d owe them all an apology but I doubt I was the only one watching who thought that. TV shows have a bad habit of putting people in romantic relationships for what seems like no real reason other than they can’t stand seeing characters not romantically linked to another character.It may surprise them but not everyone must have a boyfriend/girlfriend to be a compelling character.

Television viewers are not stupid – They can tell when a relationship is “forced” on characters and after watching this episode that’s the feeling I get with Carl and Amy and to a lesser extent with Daryl and Carol – Though the latter pair were sort pod “circling” each other last season so no real shock there but still is it necessary they they get together? NO I don’t think it is. and I really really hope the carl/amy thing fizzles and dies before the next episode  because it is incredibly unnecessary.

And speaking of carol how long are abc going to go without putting Melissa McBride in the main  opening credit sequence? There’s clearly room and she has been in every single episode but still they have her as an “ALSO STARRING.” in the post credit sequence.

The episode was not worth the hype and if Rick continues to turn into Shane I risk losing all interest in him and the show.

As far as the zombie killing scenes and special effects go they receive an A+++ but the general story and character development etc. only get maybe a B- and in some cases (Taking Hershel through the unsecured prison and the Carl/Amy thing) they don’t even earn a D – Sorry but that’s my opinion.

The show has a lot of work to do to regain my enthusiasm for it which at one point exceeded almost every other show. I used to wait for new episodes with baited breath but based on the season 3 premiere I just can’t bring myself to care. If I do catch the next episode great if not then I won’t lose sleep worrying about what I missed.  Hopefully they can prove me wrong and TWD can once again become one of my favourite shows but I’m not counting on it.

mattjdrumm:

Book 5 in the wonderful Guardians Of The Word – Head over to AMAZON and grab your copy today, you will not be disappointed.

Originally posted on Author Jolea M. Harrison:

I’m happy, thrilled and a little exhausted to announce that UNION is now available from Amazon! Guardians of the Word – Union

There are no holes in space. None to hide in. None where it’s safe.

Life onboard a space ship pursued through the void is precarious at best, where the difference between living and dying is measured one instant to the next.

On the run, Dynan Telaerin’s responsibilities increase to the breaking point while he’s the only one capable of flying the ship and making one repair after the other to his almost crippled craft, at the same time as trying to be a husband to his new wife, Loren. Bringing her and Marc Talryn into the terrifying danger that is Dynan’s life, hardens his resolve to protect them at all cost.

Making it back to the fold of the Brittallia System doesn’t guarantee safety, as betrayals abound where…

View original 162 more words

I sat down in front of my computer 4 hours ago and started writing with the intention of working on Chapter 21 which I had started last weekend, I not only worked on it but actually finished it (It really is amazing how much you can write when you don’t allow interruptions.) but the finished product is not at all what i imagined – I had a nice albeit flexible plan in mind for the chapter, that is where I wanted it to go, what characters were involved etc. and for the most part that worked out fine for about 1\3 of the chapter.

At that point my characters essentially “mutinied” on me. I don’t know what else to call it except a mutiny because it was as if they came to life and forced me to type a completely different chapter than the one I had planned which included bringing in two characters who were not scheduled for an appearance for a while not only did they appear ahead of schedule but they’ve increased the importance of another character who was only ever designed as a sort of ‘background’ type character now it seems she is going to be far more important than even I ever imagined. I suppose my current characters like her more than I thought they would (Silly me for thinking I was in control here right?).

The characters have hijacked scenes and story lines before but they have never taken an entire chapter and turned it into something else entirely, now because of events in that chapter certain earlier things are going to have to be rewritten partially or maybe even changed completely but I’ll worry about that during the red-write\editing phase which is getting closer every day which both excites and terrifies me!

I don’t mind when my characters “take control” it does add a certain element to the process that is missing otherwise and I think it made the chapter better than it was going to be but still a little notice would have been nice.

Thanks for reading.

MJD.

The last couple of weeks have been rather crazy and haven’t afforded me as much writing time as I would have like, but after a solid few hours today I’m happy to say Chapter 14 is finally done and I think I can safely say I’m at what I’m calling the Officially Unofficial halfway point – Sounds rather complicated but it does make sense I promise!

When I started writing ORIGINS I had many hurdles to overcome as I’m sure most writers do, One of those hurdles was story length – How long should it be, How long is too long etc.

I decided fairly early on that I should set goals or stages to help me get through it and 1 of those was clearly defining a halfway point where I could stop and look back to say “WOW thats the first half of the book look at everything that’s happened.” AND “What should happen now since we’re at the business end of things.” I didn’t actually say those things but I’m sure you get the point.

It’s the officially unofficial halfway point because it could quite easily change and reaching the end of chapter 28 will not guarantee that’s the end of the book at this point as I said it was just a goal I set myself and now that it has been reached I’m happy and if it does end up being the actual halfway point then all the better but if it turns out not to be the actual halfway point I’ve lost nothing.

Several weeks ago I posted on FaceBook that I received the completed e-book and full physical book designs of the book cover as created by the amazingly talented Paul Beeley and I think having reached the halfway point in the manuscript it would be a good time to debut the e-book cover to the world.

Paulk did an absolutely;y fabulous job with the design and even if it doesn’t end up being the final cover – which I cannot emphasise enough how much I would be happy for it to be the final cover – It will provide a good foundation to work from. It has already provided inspiration for the story and things that are going to happen in the first book and it has inspired me to keep writing now that I can see a book design with my name on it – And for that Paul I will always be thankful, Anyway here it is what do you think?

eBook cover version for ORIGINS

I think this deserves a WP post because it will be longish and in my experience such posts on FB tend to get messy so here we go:

Ever since I started writing ORIGINS I’ve noticed the increasingly heavy presence of what I am going to cal my “Writer’s Brain” – That is the part of my brain that seems to be entirely devoted to my characters and my story and it NEVER stops working, Several times this has come in handy because I’ll be doing stuff (Usually trying to sleep) and suddenly out of nowhere – BOOM – an idea hits and suddenly I can imagine a way to fix a problem in my story, Several times my characters have found themselves in a spot if trouble and I’ve had no clue how to get them out and one of those sudden insights has helped me out tremendously.

It’s for that reason i don’t normally complain about my WB but more and more as the story develops I can hear my WB going over things and over things AND over things, Last night while laying in bed TRYING to sleep for example I had another one of those insights which has helped me tie up a few loose ends that I didn’t even realise were loose but then it kept going and I found myself thinking “This can happen or after ‘x’ this can happen” except none of those things need to happen anytime soon and in one case it might not even happen until the second book – YIKES!

In general I’m not complaining too much as I’ve said my WB has proven useful and I don’t think I’d want to turn it off permanently because then I would have half a story and probably no way to finish it and that would be worse I think.

Anyone had any similar experiences? Is it possible to think the story through without skipping huge chunks of it (i.e. Create the middle rather than get stuck thinking of the ending?)

Rant Over – Back to life – Which probably requires a whole other rant.

MJD

Okay time for a really quick update:

I spent the last week re-writing the first 10 chapters including the prologue, While I did do some writing mostly it was a chance to tidy up the first section of the manuscript, It was starting to resemble one gigantic paragraph which wouldn’t be very readable, So I went through it again page by page and tidied it up, added some stuff and deleted some stuff, I also merged two chapters into one because the ‘break’ between them just didn’t seem logical after all.

I have decided not to spend anymore time on those chapters for the time being, They are by no means perfect yet but I’m just going to leave them as is and concentrate on the rest of the MS, I’ll rewrite them again once it is finished and I’ve received feedback from Beta Readers. Doing this will allow me to start on the “middle” section without spending time on what has already been written which as I’ve found out can be quite distracting. A friend recently said she was too close to her stories to be able to edit them effectively without feedback and I think I’m at that point with what I have written so far – Going over it again could prove disastrous plus my brain has been churning out ideas for subsequent chapters and if I don’t get them down soon they’ll weather disappear completely or drive me insane!

MJD

I took a few days off working on my book because I was offered the rare chance to act as a Beta reader for MYTH – Book 2 of The Guardians Of The word series written by the amazingly talented Jolea M. Harrison, Book 1 cHOSEN was an absolutely brilliant piece of Scifi\Fantasy work and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the genre.

When the opportunity came up to read MYTH a month or so ahead of it’s release how could I refuse? simple I didn’t, Now maybe I had a job to do, that is advising the author of plot content and structure etc. but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t work and play at the same time so to speak.

I loved reading the next adventure in the series and was amazed with all the plot twists, the character developments and the mystery of it all – who can and can’t be trusted – Who does or does not survive (Still not clear after I’ve finished reading) – What has or has not happened? who is aligned with who it’s all incredibly exciting and I think you would be remiss in your duties as a fan of the genre if you don’t read CHOSEN and if you don’t then read MYTH when it is available.

Aside from a few minor spelling and grammar errors there really wasn’t much to contribute to the story though I do hope some of my suggestions go through to the published version.

CHOSEN is available on AMAZON now for Kindle or paperback and I strongly urge you to check out at least one version of it and MYTH when it is available, Personally I have both the ebook and paperback version of CHOSEN and even though I have essentially read MYTH I will be amongst the first to order both the ebook version and paperback version when they are available.

In closing apart from me saying how unbelievably awesome MYTH is may I just say congratulations to Jolea M. Harrison for having a second brilliant novel and the best part is there are still 5 or 6 books in the series to go – YAY.

Now that that most pleasurable distraction is done I’ll go back to working on ORIGINS tomorrow

MJD.

Okay so after a few weeks that prevented me from doing any serious writing I was finally able to sit down today and punch out enough words to get me past the 30,000 word mark – It has been staring me in the face for weeks almost daring me to surpass it and while there were times when I honestly doubted I could do it I fought through that and now I am happy to report that the book is about 1/3 written That might not seem like much but 30,000 is ALOT of words and since the average length of a novel in this genre is 80-90 thousand words I’m happy with the progress so far and I’m starting to think this thing might actually get done and hopefully people will want to buy it when it is – Obviously if people don’t buy it or don’t like it I’ll be disappointed but I am a big fan of this genre so I’m trying to write what I think I would read and so far I’d have to say I would read what’s been written though that might be just a bit biased!

So hopefully if I would read it then many others would too though as I’ve said before after several failed attempts by me to start this story in the past I think I’m at a point where I couldn’t stop writing if I wanted to – the characters even the ones who haven’t appeared yet are floating around in my head screaming for attention and resolution so I’ll either need to type them out nor take anti-psychotic drugs and I don’t think I’d enjoy the latter option very much.

A quick update on the name situation – Last time I said I was thinking about changing one of the main characters’ names and the name of the entire first book, Well I did change the character name, Taking out just one letter made it so much better and I surprised myself by changing another characters’s name too, Not sure why I changed the second character’s name but it is also better now. I decided not to change the book name partially because I can’t think of a better one at the moment and partially because I’m not convinced that “ORIGINS” won’t work – guess time will tell either way.

Until next time thanks for reading,

MJD

Another ORIGINS progress update

I spent most of last week typing up Chapter 8 – It took a bit longer than I thought it would but I’m fairly happy with the outcome though I have been thinking that I may need to change the title of the first book (From ORIGINS to something else) though I haven’t fully decided either way yet.

I have however decided to change one of the main character’s names though at this point I really have no idea what it should be and I’m certainly not looking forward to trawling through 24,00 words trying to find old instances of the name and change it to a new one if I can ever decide on a new one that is.

I don’t know about other authors and how fast they like to write but I’m quite happy with the pace I’m setting myself for this book even just getting the chance to write a few hundred words a day is proving quite satisfying and I find myself spending more and more time each day when I’m not writing thinking about the book – The stories , the characters, the whole thing its really rather exciting and I’m going to stick with it because even though there are only 24,000+ words at the moment the characters are in my brain now and I HAVE TO finish their stories even if no-one ever reads them though obviously it would be nice if people do read them and enjoy them too.

I will post another update in about 1 week hopefully and by then with any luck I’ll have breached the 30,000 word mark – That really is a lot of words you know certainly more than I’ve ever written – and hopefully by the time of the next update I’ll have news on the title and character name change decisions.

Finally can I just say how much fun I’m having doing this I’d forgotten how much fun writing could be – stupid life getting in the way!

MJD

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