Posted in process

Progress Report February ’23

Finally, I actually produce a progress report when I’m supposed to. We’ll have to see whether that continues…

I had a discussion with my UK and US editors about the state of The Devils thus far – three quarters of it, that is, and I think we’re all feeling broadly positive, though there’s a lot of work still to do. Of course the first thing is to thrash out some version of the final quarter, and actually get to the end of a draft, before going back and cutting and coaxing the mush into a coherent story. To that end, I’m pleased to say I’ve been writing quite a lot since the new year (which some might consider a minimum standard for a writer), and I’m now about 45,000 words into that final part, wrestling manfully with a ludicrously complex and extravagant final action climax to put in the shade the ludicrously complex and extravagant action climaxes in the other three parts. It’s that kind of book.  Good thing? Bad thing? I guess, sooner or later, you can be the judge, but I’m pleased that it’s feeling distinctly different in tone and structure to my First Law stuff, albeit within the same character-based, gritty and violent fantastic wheelhouse. You wouldn’t want the acorn to fall too far from the tree, after all.

I’m hoping to get to the end before March is out, though the end when it comes to writing a book is always a tricking mirage, receding into the shimmering heat haze even as one tries to grasp it. The very next thing will be to spend a couple of weeks (possibly more, depending on the state of it) rewriting, adding, subtracting, improving, and generally hacking that final part into shape so I can send it off to my editors and we can sit down to discuss the entire thing. Hopefully at that point it will be clear (or more clear) what the book’s about, what the arcs of the central characters need to be, and I can set about the key task of imposing some order on the slightly chaotic first draft, refining the voices of the characters to suit their journeys, pruning the whole like a piece of topiary to produce a marvellously coherent and propulsive second draft exploding with vivid action, personality and excitement. Or something. That’s really when the book starts, for me, to get good, or at least when I start to feel good about it, anyway.

The rough aim is to get the first draft done around April, so I can hopefully turn the second draft in around August/September, so I then have a few months to tackle the detailed edit, and my own rounds of further revision focussing on character, setting and language, with the ultimate goal of having finished text around the end of the year that can then be sent out as ultra-exclusive advance copies to the lucky tastemakers of the fantasy fiction world. Publication for the general reader, you say? Oh how gauche, we don’t discuss such matters in public! Not yet anyway…

Read more | 35 comments | Posted in process, progress

The Age of Madness Facts and Figures

Finally reaching the end of a big ass trilogy like this seems a good moment to look back and take stock. It just so happens that for much of this project I kept a lot of tedious records of when and how it was written, so – for the tiny minority of people for whom […]

Read more | 30 comments | Posted in process

Progress Report August ’18

Things have been more than a bit disrupted over the last couple of months with no less than two moves and a couple of holidays. But today, after eight months out, we are finally moving back into our house. Totally unfinished, of course, so there’s going to be a month at least in which we’re […]

Read more | 47 comments | Posted in news, process, progress

2017 in Review

Hot damn if it isn’t New Year’s Eve once more. This means I must be 43 today. 11 and a half years since I was first published, but I still feel a little strange describing myself as a writer… 2017. Well, it’s been a gruelling year one way or another.  A year of inside-outs and […]

Read more | 51 comments | Posted in announcements, film and tv, games, news, process, progress

2015 in Review

New Year’s Eve, and you know what that means?  Happy birthday to me. Yes, indeed, I am 41 years old today and this is my 7th yearly review post. Time marches only one way, my friends… I’ve been hugely blog-lazy this year.  There are still many authors blogging very effectively, but it’s not quite the standard tool […]

Read more | 32 comments | Posted in announcements, film and tv, games, news, process, whisky deathmatch


Things have been exceedingly quiet around here over the last month because I’ve been touring in Australia (further details on how that went over here) and also working flat out to get Half a War edited and then copy-edited.  The downside of the quick publication schedule (three books in a year) is there’s always going to be a quick turnaround, […]

Read more | 18 comments | Posted in process

2nd Draft Part 2

It’s taken me 3 weeks, which was a good deal faster than I’d hoped, to get a reasonable 2nd draft of Half a War together.  It usually does tend to be the case that the process is less horrifying than you expect once you start to tackle it.  Some chapters needed some pretty heavy pruning […]

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2nd Draft

There was a time I was posting here three times a week, but there’ve been no posts for over a month because I have had my head firmly in putting together the 2nd draft of Half a War, third book in my Shattered Sea trilogy. When I first started writing I’d revise every sentence, every […]

Read more | 18 comments | Posted in process

Third Draft

I’ve had a few minor bits and pieces to deal with the last couple of weeks including a short story now squared away, which leaves me with no alternative but to tackle a third draft of Half the World, curse it.  Few weeks ago I was talking about work on the second draft, which focused […]

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He Killed the Younglings!

People keep asking me whether Half a King is a Young Adult book.  Well, yes it is.  Kind of.  But also an adult fantasy.  Kind of.  Crossover, you know.  Depends a little on who you ask… Categorisation is always a bit of a strange business.  Books are often put into a certain genre, or shelved […]

Read more | 60 comments | Posted in opinion, process