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Oakbrook Portal on Wattpad

I’ve finished the rewrites for the first Portal book, and you can now read the initial draft of Oakbrook Portal on Wattpad. The entire novel is there, and I’d love to hear what you think. I have also entered the manuscript into the Watty’s competition.

There’s a new cover, the title has changed, and may change again – I’m still pondering that.

Oakbrook Portal on Wattpad

You can read Oakbrook Portal on Wattpad, while the original version is here. The original is still available through Amazon, but I’m planning on trying to remove all versions before seeing the new one published. I am also submitting the new version to publishers before I think about self publishing again.

Initial feedback suggests the new version is stronger, richer, somehow – which was my aim! Large chunks of the original story have been cut. The character ensemble has been trimmed. The result is a story rich in character, with better flow of action, and more magic.

So, I hope you’ll read the story, comment, vote, and let me know what you think. I have never been easily offended, and all feedback is welcome. My only proviso is that I ask you to please keep your comments civil and constructive. Oh, and I reserve the right to only make use of the comments I feel will work for my story.

Click away, read on, and enjoy. I’ll carry on working on the next book while I wait for your reactions.

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Camp Nanowrimo Progress

I’m rebelling again, and it feels odd. The books need rewriting and changes need to be incorporated, so Camp Nanowrimo Progress is happening. But it’s not strictly linear, and nor is it really new words being laid down.

The word count target is set at 40,000 words, but I am counting these as words completed and edited in the new document draft. I did the same last November, and it worked. The Nanowrimo focus and target setting helps make me sit down and work on writing every day. Usually in the evening, but that really does depend on the day.

So this time I am working on the second book in the Portal series. The first is out with test readers awaiting feedback. So far they’ve all been very quiet, which makes me worried, but I have to trust they will all be honest. Some of the group read the first version several years ago, and may not appreciate the changes. Then there are the new faces. I’m not sure which is more nerve wracking?

Also working on new cover designs, and debating retitling the books as well – thoughts?

Camp Nanowrimo Progress

Please do remember that I don’t only want the gushing praise (although that’s nice to hear) I want to hear your honest opinion. If you don’t like it, say so, tell me why. I’m writing blind, with no editor, no publisher. Your feedback is everything.

Camp nanowrimo progress, day 4 – Total edited so far 5651, of around 100k in the original manuscript. There’s a long way to go, and then another 3 books to work on.

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2020

I seem to have signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo 2020, which is a bit of a surprise. I haven’t done NaNo for a few years and only got back into it last November, and I’d forgotten the sheer intensity and drive that the month generates.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2020

The first NaNo I took part in was 15 years ago, in 2005. That long month of November, filled with sleepless nights and intense writing, resulted in the beginning of the Portal Series.

Last year, I decided to rewrite the first book, and I’m much happier with how it looks now. But all the changes I made mean that the second, third, and all other subsequent books also now need rewriting. So, Book 1 is with a select few readers for opinions and feedback (will you all please read faster?), and it’s time to start work on Book 2. They will be retitled, and probably merged into a single volume, but it’s going to take time.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2020, during lockdown, in the midst of a global pandemic… I can’t think of a better use of the time, can you?

I have a job, house, family, to work around, and this will have to be very disciplined if I am to succeed. This is a NaNo Rebel project, a rewrite and edit rather than a fresh new story. So I have the original manuscript to work from. I know the characters, I know where the story goes – although I will likely change that, at least a little. Some characters have already been wiped from the narrative, some have been introduced already.

My plan is to start with a fresh document, a blank page, and take the story one section at a time and work it with a fine tooth comb, rewriting, trimming. In between paid work, family commitments, and sleep, I also mean to add plants to my garden. I’d like an Elder, a Hazel, maybe some Gentian. I think you’ll know why. But no Lilys – Sorry, they’re poison to my cats, I’m sure she would understand.

There may be updates, if I remember. See you on the other side.

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Oakbrook Creations

I have a new website: Oakbrook Creations. For a while now I’ve not been happy with using my own name and wanted something different. After much soul-searching, and debate, I decided to name the site after the fictional town of Oakbrook from my Portal novels. I hope you’ll visit.

Oakbrook Creations

The shop has moved over to Oakbrook, and there will be more content in time. But for now both sites will run side by side.

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The scary part

In 2005 I wrote a book. I thought that was the scary part. I was so wrong. Writing an entire novel was terrifying, sure. But was in no way as frightening as letting someone else read it!

scary part

Then last year, 14 years later, I picked that novel up again and was shocked. It was messy, large sections had no place in the story. And some of the writing was abysmal.

I’ve not been completely happy with it for a while and decided to rewrite it completely. I tackled most of it during November, as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge that I’ve done for a number of years. When I reached the final chapter, I stalled.

So much had been changed, and I was more focussed on character motivation, and what drove them. The end needed to remain the same, or mostly the same, but I couldn’t get past that block. So I set it aside again. So many distractions to occupy my writing time, but Lily and Kate were there, at the back of my mind.

Half-term came, another couple of months on, with time at home and a week off work. I had space and time to work on it, so I made myself sit and finish the rewrite! I must have gone through the document 4 or 5 times, and the narrative is now 20k words shorter than it was. But I am happier with it, I think.

So, the really, truly, scary part? Now it’s done, I need fresh eyes on it. So, the unpolished document is now out with a trusted few friends who will read it and, I hope, give me some honest feedback.