This weeks blog is all about reviews. The title comes from this wonderful book. A sobering read for any of us with artistic pretensions.
First off I have decided to pay someone to review the first three chapters of the current draft. The idea came as I happened across this site The Writers Workshop. Its a useful place for some of the technical as well as business issues of writing a book. It’s the brainchild of this guy Harry Bingham who appears to be a successful professional author in his own right. Hey he even has his own Amazon page. The sight claims to be the leading consultancy for first time writers. One of the (paid for) services it offers is an opportunity for an in depth review and critique of the first “chunk” of your manuscript. Ok I thought, time to put your money where your mouth is. Cough up and let’s see what a professional editor makes of your plot and prose. So money sent file uploaded. Couple of days later one of the editorial team informs me she has sent the draft to Russel D McLean. You can read about Russel here. I can expect my report in around four weeks. As I promised when I started this blog, it will be a warts and all process, so I will let you see the report when I do and share the pain/glory/indifference with you. I am hopeful as Russel has one really good thing going for him, he likes Iain M Banks, easily one of my favourite writers. I had the privilege of meeting Iain on one of his last book tours. A humble yet bitingly funny speaker, fiercely intelligent and sadly missed.
Secondly I have had more feedback from another of my followers, which apart from a couple of redacted plot points I reproduce in full below.
“You have a great cast of characters assembled. They are quite distinct from each other, which is essential. The …….. chap is an interesting addition to the cast, not to mention the ‘Forty Elephants’. Is this based on a real organisation? Most intriguing, not to mention the flag idea.
I also like the way you give details of the Police station and the dollop of history that comes with it (and indeed other details of the Victorian city throughout the story so far).
One wonders how Perrin’s character is going to develop….he seems to get a little tougher at times which stops him becoming a stereotype. The …………are a really good touch. Mary and he are ……….. by hiding this information. What will happen when (if) ….. finds out?
There’s so much going on in London, one wonders if they are going to leave the city at all?
Actually, you have so much going on here it almost feels like it has turned into a different sort of story….a good old Victorian thriller, with lots of twists and turns, violence and dodgy loyalties, seedy backdrops and mysterious villains.. And Empire of course….
Will await the next bit. Be very interested to see how it goes.”
To which I say, sorry the flag bit has been ditched – too pat. The Forty Elephants did really exist at the time this book is set, and yes they will leave the city and set sail for Africa, just as soon as I have wrapped up this bit of the plot, which is setting the scene for later in the book. And subsequent ones too. As to it being a Victorian thriller, well yes it is, but there is more to come…..
Finally the draft is to to 60k and a critical new chapter looms, which has been keeping my brain ticking over for the last week, both night and day. If I can just remember all the stuff I have been thinking about, it should be a breeze, otherwise……..
See you next week.