I originally only started this blog because I’m a writer and I kept hearing that writers have to have a blog. Thus it occurred to me the other day that I ought to keep my eager followers more regularly apprised of what I’m beavering away at in the background.
My problem is that I tend to have several projects on the go at once and jump from one to another as the mood takes me – not something to be recommended. So, in addition to my freelance work for the various writers’ advisory agencies, the current state of play is as follows:
- Children’s ghost story. : Literally minutes before I started writing this post, I had finished a rewrite of a children’s ‘thriller’ I originally wrote a few years ago. To cut a long story short, it didn’t work out and got rejected by everyone I sent it to. However, I had a lot of positive feedback and knew myself that there was some pretty good writing in there that was a shame to waste. So I came up with the idea of turning it into a ghost story – a creepy man covering up a dark deed by his ancestor, one that has left some very unhappy spirits making their presence felt. Our hero and his friends has to solve the mystery of the dark deed and free the spirits. So it’s just been finished and I’m very happy with it, but it still needs a fair amount of polishing before it’s ready to go anywhere.
- While I’ve been working on this, I’ve written a sample chapter for Hothouse. They are a group I’m signed up with who come up with a detailed, chapter-by-chapter brief for a novel complete with character outlines, and get interested writers to submit a chapter. They select the one they think is best to go on and write the novel, and then they try to find a publisher for it. The Secrets and Spies books that I’ve mentioned previously were written in this way (under the pseudonym Jo Macauley). Those were set in the Restoration period, whereas this latest takes place in the Twenties and features exploration and another feisty young heroine. As you can imagine, the full details are confidential at present, so to avoid the nuisance of having to hunt you all down and kill you, I’ll reveal no more for now. I should hear in two or three weeks whether I’ve been successful, and of course I’ll pass on the news, good or bad, when it arrives.
- Waterloo. I was trying to interest publishers in a plan for a biography of an intrepid naval officer in the Nelsonian period, again without success. However, to my surprise one publisher asked me if I’d like to write a book about the Battle of Waterloo instead. I was worried that the subject had been done to death, but came up with an at least reasonably original angle by telling the story of the battle almost exclusively in the words of those who took part and left accounts. I’ve got a long deadline for this, so fortunately it’s allowed me to break off to do things like the ghost story referred to above. Once the final draft of the ghost story is done, I’ll concentrate most of my energies on getting this project finished.
- Aquila. I’ve become a regular contributor to this children’s magazine. Over the coming months, I’m lined up to write articles on Florence Nightingale and Mary Anning among other subjects. These will have to be squeezed in among all the other stuff!