March 2024 Archive

Progress Report February ’24

A day late and a dollar short on this one, for which I blame February and its inadequate number of days. A disappointing month, even in a leap year.

But the work continues . . . The Devils is basically finished, line edit done, and its copy edit should be coming back shortly – generally that’s a more mechanical exercise carried out by a specialist copy editor, focusing on the details like getting the right punctuation, consistency of names and times and geography, though a good copy editor will pick up on all kinds of stuff you likely never thought about with timeline and clarity of writing. Still, we’re talking sentence level changes, in general, rather than significant rewriting. Once that’s done I expect Advance Reader Copies will start wending their way to various authors, critics and tastemakers of the genre, and we’ll see if I’m still capable of outraging the public. Fingers crossed on that one.

So the last couple of months have mostly been spent thinking about, planning, and doing some exploratory writing on the sequel. I’ve written a horribly sloppy and unsatisfactory version of the first part of 3, maybe 50-60,000 (bad) words or so. There are some characters carried over from the first book but also some new voices to work out, and a new plot and setting to tackle. My approach with these books has been to get a rough idea of where I’m going, dash off a first part to see what works and what doesn’t, then rethink and rewrite as I come up with a more accurate plan for the whole book. This is usually the time at which I most hate the book, myself and the world, and this book is proving to be no exception. But now comes a period of going over, sharpening up, slimming down what I’ve written and adding new stuff, getting a better idea of who the characters are, where they’ve come from, where they’re going. Generally you find some things work nicely off the bat and give a good framework for what’s to come. Other things are a bit crap and need rethinking. Hopefully you come out of that process with a much tighter first part that sets up a more formed idea of the rest of the book, not to mention a better feeling about the whole project and a sense of confidence going forward (let’s hope).

A lot of people, understandably, asking after the Best Served Cold film. All I can say on that is there’s nothing I can say until there’s something I can say. As soon as there is something I can say I’ll say it, believe me. Having been involved in quite a few film and tv projects over the last decade or so I can tell you it’s always a baffling, surprising and frustrating business. Things lurch forward, then halt, then take steps back, then forward again, like an indecisive drunk on a bender. Projects get announced in a blaze of excitement, then dropped in awkward silence, then suddenly resurrected in a new form. So . . . we’ll see. Don’t hold your breath, would be my advice . . .

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