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pulsemyne

Book 3. Protect and survive?

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The title is a reference to the civil defense booklets and information films from the 1970's/80's. Sadly I cannot explain quite why it's called that without spoiling the second book, but lets just say that this continues from where the second book leaves off.

So far I'm up to chapter nine (just finished it in fact) and it's probably around 25,000 words at the moment (I haven't checked yet.). As I said in the book two topic this book concerns what it means to be human and just how far we can sink as a species in times of crisis. It also quite a bit to do with media.

While this may all sound very serious it still has a lot of comedy just like my other books have done.

Unlike the last topic though I am not going to estimate just how big this book is going to be. I've learnt that once I start getting ideas I put a lot of them into the books and they balloon in size a lot.

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Right seeing as no bugger has apparently read this thread I shall just carry on all on my own and talk my usual bollocks.

Anyway just like the spice of dune the ideas must flow and so they are. Memories though...they are funny old things, especially if you have a lot of them. Sometimes they need a good old sorting out like in Chapter 10. I really loved writing this chapter as it was just so much fun. The accumulated memories of thousands of lifetimes can lead to some very nasty situations being remembered. It was chance to let my imagination fly for a bit. Lot's of playing about with characters etc. I still haven't finished the chapter and I think it's going to be a whopper. Hell I could even write an entire book from it.

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I'm quite enjoying the whole memory mess about thing at the moment. Here's a sample of one such bit I'm working on.

"

“That's it! Downing Street. I worked there when...”

A fattish, grey haired man approached the bar. “Ah Tracy could I have another double whiskey and a pack of cigars please.”

She looked behind her and picked out a thin yellow packet before placing a glass against one of the myriad bottles hanging on a rack. It drizzled out a brown liquid.

“There you go Sir Godfrey. That's be five pounds twenty three.”

He felt about in one of his pockets. “Bloody expensive things.” he mumbled.

“Your lot did put up the price of spirits love.” She smiled at him.

He found the money and pulled it out. “Yes I suppose your right.” He slapped the money on the bar before turning and looking at Belm. “Ah Frank your here. Good. Me and the chaps are having a chin wag over here. Join us. I think you'll find the conversation quite interesting.” He pointed a finger towards one of the tables around which were sat several people in ill fitting suits and various states of drunkenness. On the table were a number of half empty pints glasses and a yet to opened packet of crisps. Amongst all this were the days newspapers, some of which had spatter marks where pints had been placed or spilt. One of the men burped loudly.

Belm started walking over to the table, Holm pointed at his other-self and and mouthed, “Stop him!”

Holms other-self nodded back and grabbed Belm. “I don't think that's a good idea. Last time you got distracted things went a bit bad for us.”

Belm looked at them all and smiled. “It's okay I think I know what's going to happen here. If memory serves me this conversation leads to something quite interesting and very, very enjoyable for me.” He pulled away from Holms other self. “Also I have an idea. Just trust me.”

“Good man Frank!” Sir Geoffrey said as Belm sat down. “Frank I believe you know Douglas and the rest of the gang.”

“I certainly do.” He nodded at them all.

“Of course you do. You not drinking Frank?”

“Ah no I have to work late tonight. Oh that reminds me.” He pointed over his shoulder. “You don't mind if members of my team join us do you? I can assure you they are very quiet.” He lent in to Sir Geoffery. “Also they have some very good relations amongst the newspapers. Very handy I think you'll agree.”

Sir Geoffreys face squiggled into a smile. “Really? Well they can join as well then. After all we may need some good press. Especially after what I'm going to tell you.”

Belm looked over his shoulder and nodded at the others. “Pull up a chair. This concerns you as well.”

Holm, his other self and Stephen all looked around and began dragging chairs from other tables. They sat down in a horse shoe around Belm.

The Blob tried to wedge it's way inbetween them all.

“I say he's an odd looking fellow.” Said Sir Geoffrey.

“He's...ah...well...he's from some other country.” Belm hastily lied.

Sir Geoffery nodded. “Oh I see!” he looked at the Blob. “GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE!” he said loudly and slowly.

The Blob gave a little spin and splatted the tables legs with filth. “Thank you! You are kind.”

Belm cleared his throat. “Yes well I am quite curious as to what you have to tell me.”

The was another loud burp and a chubby man grabbed one of the pints and finished it off. “It's about she who shall not be named.” He said in a upper class accent.

One of the people around the table, a thin with a pale complexion opened his eyes wide. “Oh no please can we have one meeting not about her?”

Sir Geoffrey shook his head. “Come on John you know what this is about.”

“No please. I just want a break from her. You lot don't understand it. She's on me all the bloody time. Don't even have time to read the cricket scores anymore.” He grabbed a pint of bitter and took a small sip.

“Sorry John.” said the chubby man. “But you know what she's going to announce in the next few days. She's gone completely off her rocker. It's a bloody disaster.”

Belm pretended to look confused. “Erm just what exactly is she going to announce?” he asked.

Sir Geoffrey looked around before whispering. “She's announcing the poll tax for the rest of Britian.”

He looked shocked. “Surely not?”

John nodded. “Yes she is. And it's me here who has to try and sort through the mess of restructuring the tax system.”

“But isn't it really unpopular?”

All the people around the tabled laughed. “Well of course it is.” said Sir Geoffrey. “Trouble is she doesn't bloody care. We tried advising her not to do it but she just waved it off and called us cowards.”

Stephen threw his bloodied handkerchief onto the table. “Is she a bit of a babe this women then?”

The thin man started choking on his bitter. The chubby man started slapping him hard on the back.

Belm looked at Stephen. “No...no she certainly is not.” he said slightly aghast.

Sir Geoffrey looked at Stephen and then at Belm. “Are you sure he's one of you team?”

He nodded. “Yes but he just had a run in with Tracy. I think she banged his head a bit too hard.”

“Oh so that's what the sound was!” He looked at Stephen “Lesson learned I think. Don't mess with Tracy. She's near as scary as Margre...” He quickly covered his mouth before releasing himself. “Sorry I meant she who shall not be named.”

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Seems like no one read the wall of text above. Never mind. I'm still working my way through chapter 13 and it's turning out to be a bit of a whooper. So much so I think when editing comes around I'll split the thing up into a number of chapters. It's a lot of fun writing something that really is about earths future/past and how Belm's memories are messing up and confusing the real with the imagined. He really has become quite messed up. I'm quite proud of just how fucked up I have made him.

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I'm now well into chapter 15 and everything is started to heat up a bit. The first inclines of war are beginning. Obviously I am not going to say much about the story but this chapter concerns a broadcast of something that shouldn't have been shown, the previously mentioned protect and survive tapes. So our not very merry troop have to go to the BBC to try and figure out what the fuck is going on. I even managed to shoehorn a Doctor who reference into it!

“Studio 1A.” Holm said aloud. “I wonder what is recorded there?”

Curiosity got the better of Belm and he pushed the doors open and looked inside. He smiled when he recognised the set. “Heh if only time travel was that eventful.” He closed the doors and turned around.

“So what was in there?” Holm asked.

Belm gave a laugh. “The stuff of children's happy dreams and nightmares. Those studios are a lot bigger on the inside than these doors suggest.” He turned around and looked along the corridor to the left. “You know I think we should carry on this way. I doubt the VT department is that far away now.”

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I finally finished chapter 15 and I am well into chapter 16. A the moment I'm going through about 1000-1500 words per day. I'm really in the groove for writing at the moment and that's because I'm enjoying what I'm writing and the story is flowing very well. It's generally takes me about an hour to do 1500 words if everything is going well otherwise that total drops to 1000 or a little less in the same period of time. Still only have a general idea of where to take the story. I have some images in my mind of events that will happen. The ending though is not decide yet. Maybe it will lead to another book (probably).

Overall my aim is to get a series of books together to approach publishers with. A sort of "Yeah this is how dedicated I am ". Besides, it isn't as if I don't like what I do. I really bloody enjoy it. I may never make a living out of it but hey what the hell.

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Chapter 16 took a long arse time to finish. Not due to a lack of writing but more a case of it being bloody huge (about 15,000 words). Still it's done and now I am well in to seventeen. I did get a little stuck for a while as I tried to work through various things in my mind, a sort of mid book crisis if you will, but that is now done. I now have a rather solid approach but as yet no real finish. I'm writing to a point and then work on where to go from there. It seems to work for me so that's okay.

Book 2 meanwhile has stalled a bit as the editing process is a bit slow, but I'm not too bothered by that as I want to get all three books together and sort the whole story through.

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It's been quite a while since I updated this but really all that's to report is that I've been chugging along with the book quite happily. Normally my books are very dialogue heavy due to me being comfortable with writing a lot of it, but the past few chapters on the new book have been very descriptive and involve little to no dialogue. It's very a very different way for me to write something and it's not easy either, I do find I repeat like phrases or certain elements. Thankfully it's all very fixable when it comes to editing.

I've also had to do a surprising amount of research into certain things, in particular what BBC television center was like in the early 1980's. Now it may seem odd what a book revolving around nuclear war has to do with the BBC but it all becomes clear in the story. It also allows me to leaver in some little easter eggs about programs they made (Doctor who for example and Mastermind as well as the news etc). I also had to research just how they used to editing video tapes (an editing tape plays a big part in the start of the story).

Also I do think it's going to be a big old thing as very soon the book branches off into three stories, each taking place in a different country.

Oh and the main people drive around London in a bright green Austin Princess. Can't get more 1980's than one of those shitheaps.

image022.png

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Chapters 17 and 18 are now done with 19 well on it's way. Chapter 18 was huge (over 10,000 words) but I couldn't really split it into two as it concerns one single event. It's a mine story in itself but has big significance in the overall story. As does chapter 19 (not that the previous chapters don't of course). I like to call these "Drive" Chapters as their purpose is to really push the story along. They are focal points of the story and push it in a certain direction.

From chapter 19 onwards the main story will split into three parts taking place at the same time in three separate countries (as I mentioned in the previous post). The good thing about this is it allows we to give the sections a slightly different feel to each other. It also allows me to tell three differant moral tales. The danger is that the reader could prefer one of the three over the other two.

Of course getting people to actually read the things wot I have wrote (I love me some morecambe and wise) is the tough part. It's even tougher when just two of my books have more words than the entire lord of the rings trilogy. Not that I would compare my stuff to Tolkien of course.

Still three books with a lot of words will be a tough sell to an agent.

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I've just done a good old fashion totaling up of novel 3 and so far it's 120,000 words and 20 chapters. Still a long way to go until it's end but it's a good solid start. The total for all 3 books is 575,000 words. I can see probably another 100,000 being added to that at the end of the third book. Good God I haven't half written a lot. Surprised my keyboard isn't worn down.

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I am always impressed by your output @pulsemyne. Sorry that I didn't complete my shoddy editing of your book two, it wasn't because I didn't want to read it, more that I just didn't find the time to do it. When are you publishing the second book?

 

I wish I was better at just getting words down like you do.

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That's okay dude. I'm really not sure about book two timing as I'm going to finish the third book first then run through all three to make sure I maintain the world building etc consistently through them all. Consistency about the limits of technology and the timeline is one thing I need to nail down perfectly. It's pretty good at the moment but it needs more polish. Also certain characters personalities need to be fully ironed out. (for example Belm will always be overly self confident and egotistical while being sarcastic and quite childish.He's also ruthless but plagued with regret when having to do such things. Holm will always be a distrusting grumpy person always looking for the worse in a situation. He's also a patriot to Earth and it's moral causes but has to confront truths about Central and what their actions cause to happen. Telch will always be overly happy and helping but will be bordering on naivety. He has a number of secrets and I'll always make you think there's more too him and his people.)

Also writing for three characters talking with each other is surprisingly tricky. As is writing about the adventures of an enhanced rat infiltrating the BBC. He even interrupts the filming of a doctor who episode. Trust me though, it does make sense.

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 If now into chapter 26 and finally have the story splitting off into it's three sections taking place at three points around the world. One part I know will give me a bit of trouble while the other two will be much easier to handle. Still I'll work it out someway. I also managed to solve a communications problem I had written myself into earlier in the book. The solution was to actually use something from the first book but on a smaller scale. Happily it works within the rules of technology I had set out. I have also been able to backstory the character of Telch a lot more as well as his people and their technology. 

 There is still quite a way to go in the story though and I have found myself doing a bit more research on things than I thought I would. Still it's going good and apart from the odd few things I have kept up a good pace.

 

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It's been quite a while since I did an update but I have completed chapters 26,27,28 and I'm onto 29. These have been pretty long chapters but it's a necessity because of how things are structured from now one. I'm also aware that the pace of the story will begin to increase as I have introduced something of a ticking clock element. The protagnoists have just six days left until things begin to go really bad and a sequence of events begins that will send everything out of control. That event will be the broadcast of a Panorama special on the BBC of very classified information. If that is broadcast before the protagonists can stop it then all will be saved. If they don't then a nuclear war will become a certainty. No pressure then. Especially when it's not just Earths fate on the line but the entire of the universe and all of time and space.   

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Chapter 29 has been a long slog but largely due to the fact that I've included a back story element that I never intended to do. This has happened before when I'm writing because sometimes I get a little nugget of an idea and just go with it. This one concerns a piece of information from the second book which just fits in with the going's on in this book. It was a slight intention to mention in in the third book but only as a passing reference, but the idea popped in my head while reading chapter 29 and it was too good to not use. It also gives more detail on the background universe I have created...well slightly more detail.

Once this chapter is done I need to real sort out and put down a plan of where the book is to go. I have a general direction and a sort of set piece ending lined up which I'm looking forward to writing. I am concerned about some of the more mundane but necessary things that happen in the book, would the reader be willing to plough through them? Perhaps that's an area that will be edited a lot. Hard to say. Still it's there for a reason and not unnecessary waffle.

Of course once this book is done then it's the enormous task of going through all three and sorting out problems and sticking by certain rules.

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Thank god that chapter is out of the way. It needs splitting up I think but if I do then I'll ruin my books rhythm or alternating chapters concentrating on one of the three main characters. Still it's out of the way and now I get to crack on. While all this has been going on I've had another idea about for a novel and it's quite a good one. It's sci fi again but I think it will be more fun and perhaps far more epic and space based as well as being unrelated to the other books.

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With chapter 30 done (and a nifty little spanners thrown in the works at it's end) I've taken a slight step back to examine things (as well as read the last Iain M Banks book). I really would like to get all three books published professionally and not just thrown up on amazon. I think the three stories are strong enough to make a good series of books for people to enjoy reading.

Readings a Banks book has reminded me just how much of a influence he has been on the way I write things although there are also some big differences. I try to make my imagery of things clearer, by that I mean less detailed. Part of the reason is he's obviously much better at doing something like that than I am but it's also a conscious choice. I kind of want the reader to give something their own vision of it.

I also have conversations flow in a similar manner. Albeit mine probably are not quite as subtle as his. Also it's a pain in arse writing a conversation taking place between three people which doesn't help things. I notice that I do a lot of "He said" or "Belm said" and it's something I try and eliminate during editing. I suppose it's a mental way of keeping track of things and me thinking "Well when editing you can do X or Y".  

I read recently that George R.R Martin starts his days work by rewriting the previous days work, sort of editing as he goes. I'd hate that. I desperately want to get things written down first and then looked over and improved. I also found out than Banks used to write about 1500 words per day so a large book (for him) would take about 3 months to write. Ironically when I started writing this was my plan. Chuck out a book every few months based on a similar rate of words. I could actually do it if I was so motivated to do so but real life has a habit of going "Ha! Ha! Fuck you pulsmeyne you need to repair someones computer!". Still I think another push to try and get and agent should be on the cards.

As for Book 3. Well It should all start to come together quickly now. Next will be a Soviet chapter, then an American one and then a Uk one then back again for another cycle before the big event. Then some more and hey presto! finish...o.   

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A couple more chapters have been chucked out now but thanks to a bit of a block I've decided to make sure that that I'm ready and clear with a plan for the next few chapters. So while I'm not writing per say I am writing in a fashion. A sort of bullet point attempt at mapping the next three chapters or more. I will say that it has helped clarify things but I also realise that this book will need a fair bit of tightening up and simplifying. I need to make the story clearer. It's not terribly complex in the first place but it feels a bit...wooly, in particular in the area of what the enemy agents are doing on the Russian end of things. The american and UK parts are fine (the UK more than the american one which needs a bit of refinement but I have a way of making that happen). 

It's all a bit irritating as the story is quite good, being someone  who grew up in the 1980's it's been fun to write about it (and also gave me a chance to shit on a few of the things the 80's did be it naff cars or Thatcher or the fashion of the time etc). Indeed I think I just thought up a rather action packed sequence to include. Something very 80's TV. :)   

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Good God it's been over two months since I last updated this. Just finished chapter 36 and while my daily rate has slowed down somewhat it's still around 900 words a day when I do something. The book now stands at over 200,000 words and things will soon start to accelerate. And just think it will all be the fault of an episode of Panorama or at least that will be the start of it.

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Every now and again you get a day when writing that you just find all goes right. That happened yesterday when it seemed effortless to bang out a quick 800 words. While I have rarely had writers block I do sometimes slow down a lot or just struggle with 500 words and go "Bugger it that'll do for today." Still it's getting done, if somewhat slower than the previous books. One thing I do know though is that my pace will accelerate a lot towards the end as I had lots of ideas for that. The struggle comes from the setting up things and it's a very protracted set up as well. I've also had to research things to try and give the story a sense of it's place in history, some liberties are taken of course but by and large it's quite accurate to the time period and the fears and suspicions at the time, from things like the soviet Operation RYAN (basically a collection of people high up in soviet command who were convinced NATO was going to launch a first strike against them) to the star wars program, to the various people involved in such things etc.

Mind the book also features an epic confrontation between three rats in a sewerage system. There's a very good reason for it though. One of the rats is very important to things. He's a good rat.  

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If I have learned something over the past few days it's that heat + writing = No fucking chance. Over the past few months I have learned that general elections take up far too much of my writing power for a day. It is draining writing "Fuck me how bad are the tories" about 20 times a day and then arguing with people.

I have slackened off in my writing quite a bit lately. Still while not doing that I have been trying to get representation form literary agents. It's annoyingly time consuming just as it was the first time I tried it but I thought "Bugger it. Let's try again." It's worth a go I suppose and much better than sending a book out to die on Kindle. I still have that desire to see my books ignored on the shelves of waterstones. That would be lovely.

 Still book 3 continues and I'm on chapter 38 now. I also begun to write a chapter more towards the end of the book as well. Slightly out of sequence I know but it's one I have been looking forward to writing.

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 For the moment Book 3 has been put on the back burner. The reason for this is because I have finally decided to go and rewrite book one. The irony here is that becasue that is already written, as well as the the second book and a lot of the third, I have managed to become massively productive, hammering out a few thousand words a day and also putting subtle references to the other books, things like Belm's house actually being the castle in book two, at least what is left of the castle several thousand years in the future. Of course he doesn't know that fact (time travel and all that).

 I have also began to try and consciously write in a more show and less tell manner. I've changed the name of the "bad" species in the book to something less on the nose and obvious. (they were called the Imrams (who aren't really the real bad guys) and now are called the Pendwers...a messing around of the welsh for four). I've given a name to the species that tried to kill Belm at the beginning of the book and eliminated a part that really bothered me. Also that chapter is now not chapter two but chapter one. A good slam bang action opening (and even more action than originally). I also chose to world build the planet the chapter takes place on just to give it more flavour and context. 

 It's all good though and perhaps a rejigged first few chapters will get more agents attentions.  

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 The book one rewrite is going okay. However, I find myself only taking the structure of the original book one chapters and redoing huge chunks of it. Sort of saying a similar thing but in a different way. I have managed to keep the characters (at least the main ones) just as they were. Which is good as it means the other books are not impacted.

When the rewrite is done I will have to rewrite the rewrite a bit as while it's better than the first try it isn't as good as I would like it to be. It's like trying to refine oil to make petrol, filtering out the waste and getting to the good stuff.

   The story itself is fine, that's not the real problem. It has a structure that flows nicely and generally, keeps a good pace. That part doesn't bother me. Polishing it up to be as good as it could, that's the tricky part.

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