New books

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What a wise man! Crescendo, my new book, is out now. Whatever form, check it out here.

G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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Crescendo Update!

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“Crescendo!”, my novel about two paranormal investigators, Austerley & Kirkgordon, racing round the world to stop a cataclysmic event, is still on track for an early October release. Currently I am in final editing stages and have 7 chapters of the 31 to send back to my editor for a final going over before the manuscript is complete. Watch out for a Kickstarter starting within the next week!

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

Pressure! – Deep in the Self-publishing Groove

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Fitting writing in is hard enough at the best of time with a busy family, a normal job and all the other things life throws at you. Hence I write during my lunch break. Edit in the wee hours of the morning. Grab a moment while the kids are at a club and I’m sat in the cafe outside or even at a table.

In earlier days I would have taken my pencil and pad and wrote from the top of my head. Today is similar, except that I use a tablet, with a Bluetooth keyboard and it comes with thesaurus, dictionary and encyclopedia. My work can sit on a cloud or a card that is smaller than my thumbnail. Looking with truthful eyes, I find technology helping me achieve my end, assisting in cutting out extra work.wpid-received_10204171658434333.jpeg

And yet, while I love the fact that I can control so much of my own work, there comes a pressure. Everything seems to need completed at the same time and with the obligatory professional edge. But I am just a writer. Sit me in front of a keyboard or give me a pencil and I’ll knock out a story, without hesitation. It’s in-built. I didn’t become a writer, I was born one. Albeit, I had to learn our code for transmitting the stories first. Not saying I can’t improve because I can, but I am a writer.

But I wasn’t born a publisher. Visual art can be a strange experience. And the nuances of formatting, well let’s say, I am new to them. These things that don’t come naturally add pressure because I feel out of my depth. Even with hired help, I feel exposed. And these extras, these important items, become precious to me because they show off my writing. They help people connect with my core, my work. And hence the pressure comes and I become scared that I am not doing my writing justice with these other items.

But there is a revelation. I can only improve if I first try. “Better to burn out than to fade away,” was said in “Highlander”, the eighties film. Don’t bury your talents to be more biblical. And so one must take the pain to receive the gain as the fitness gurus tell us.

It helps when reading about other authors who had to fight their way to publication. Stephen King comes to mind. I read “About Writing” and initially wondered why there was so much about his own life and not about the writing process. But now, having leapt into the same passion, I get it. The man said it himself.

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. …this book…is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

So no matter the pressure, I’ll keep drinking!

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

Getting the professionals – Dealing with the dreaded editor!

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When writers talk about editors with each other, it always makes me smile. Why? Because the testimonials run somewhere between people who rank just a touch lower than your mother to the awful beasts who didn’t understand and wrecked my manuscript. Usually there is a severe bias from ourselves, the authors, but then you must appreciate, we are handing our baby over to these people and they need to take great care with it.

My experience so far has been an enjoyable one. I scoured Reedsy (an online hiring post for editors and graphic artists) and put forward my proposal to receive several replies announcing desire to copy-edit my manuscript. There were several excellent bids and I put out a test edit piece for the bidders. After much thought I choose Caroline Orr to work with. From the off, Caroline was professional, courteous but also keen to seek a way of working between us. One point I would say, to my fellow authors seeking to engage a professional editor, is that you should feedback not just your opinion on any editing made but also the way in which that editing is explained to you. Early on in our collaboration, I fed back to Caroline why her method of explanation worked for me.

Following through the editing is fierce for a writer. You see changes and deep inside is an animal screaming that this is your novel and your style, how dare they suggest any change. But then why are we paying for these services. Some changes are easy. Punctuation (hand is up, I am in dire need!). Bad phrasing (hand up again). But then there are moments when sentences are reconfigured, your audience nationality is questioned, and at times pointers that your entire paragraph is struggling to make sense (my hand is getting sore!).

I am still working through my novel’s edits but already I am convinced of the need of a good editor. They cannot write your story for you (well maybe they could but they’d probably want to publish it themselves) but they certainly polish up the car, get the engine running smoothly and make sure the driver finds easy access to all the necessary controls. However, do not underestimate the work involved or the occasional knock to your ego. But then it’s not about us, is it? It’s about that novel. Who cares what the parent looks like on prize day? But our child needs to be ready for presentation!

By the way Caroline hasn’t proofed this blog, all errors are my very own!

Where They Lead We will Follow!

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Do your characters behave? Do they follow their profiles and those wonderful storyboards that you have placed in your rough notes? Mine don’t. They are getting out there with a mind of their own! I start to write and then for some reason the words just take off in a totally unexpected direction. It’s good that I write fiction lest I change the history of the world.
The difficulty is not in the initial write, which is more often than not great fun. The problems arise when I start rereading chapters and realise that my continuity has been somewhat shot to pieces. Vital pieces of pre-information have to be inserted into previous chapters and often certain lines or actions obliterated. Scars are formed and wounds miraculously healed. Hidden objects become not so hidden and crucial devices are now laid out to the scrapyard, possibly hoping for a part in a further adventure.
I guess what I am trying to say in all this (and as a writer hopefully with some alacrity – but maybe not) is that these masterpieces we write are not just dead words of a pointless tale. To us writers, they are our children, our window boxes – cultivated  and replanted until they bear true fruit. Even when published we want to rein them back in. Taking our favourites through difficult times become emotional milestones and yet we have never even left the room, or coffee shop in my case.
One must contend though that this is a good thing. It is actually the means by which most of our feelings and passions become real on the page. To live these moments with our impetuous, scallywag characters makes them true and not a two dimensional fraud. So although I laugh at writers who cry and shout at their characters (and also at myself) for getting too personal about these children of ours, I say this: Let them run wild and free, to take me to the places I could never get to on my own!

Originally posted 21 November 2014 on Blogspot