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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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Making maps

When you’re writing, inventing worlds, exploring new places, you will need to map your world. Making maps means you have an idea of where things are. You can keep track of what’s going on.

If, like me, your drawing skills are sadly lacking, then Photoshop, or an equivalent image manipulation program is your new best friend for making maps!

I’ve been using this page as a guide, and this is the result so far…

making maps

Yes, I know, it needs work, and it’s not finished. But, that gap in the trees on the left? That’s where Fin crashes, lands, the ship. That beach on the bottom left corner, that’s where Sean and Joss end up.

Probably. I might make a different one at some stage, when I work out what needs to be on the map.

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NaNoWriMo 2018 Progress Update

This year, having said a few years ago that I wouldn’t do NaNoWriMo ever again… Here I am, typing at ungodly hours, describing a spaceship, an unexpected planet and landing, and I’m just a little bit ahead of schedule. This is a NaNoWriMo 2018 progress update.

So, today I thought I would share a little of the work so far.

Spaceship: The Last of Humanity – In The Dome – Nanowrimo 2018

Covering the top of the ship, the dome wasn’t really a dome but the top curved to maximise the light and growing space. Protected, shielded against background radiation and artificially lit on a diurnal cycle that mimicked Earth seasons, it enabled them to grow food and medicinal plants during the voyage. It wasn’t large enough to produce sufficient food to feed the whole ship’s complement, but research had shown a sustained eco-system would benefit an extended journey. And the fruit and vegetables produced supplemented their diet of algae in various forms. The algae tanks were below the dome. Both the dome and the tanks had been designed to continue to produce food after landing.  Food supply would be critical while they planted crops and began to create the self sustaining colony. But for now the algae tanks made most of their food.

This was his dome.

And Bassett loved it. He loved the space, the light, and the smell. His favourite time of day was the artificial sunrise, when the overhead sprinklers lightly misted the dome as the lights came up. The feeling of being refreshed, renewed, kept him smiling every day that he worked in the dome.

Right now, though, it was lesson time and Bassett had 23 hens and one cockerel with him. The other chickens were ranging somewhere else. He also had 7 children following his every movement. He found the best way to teach was to immerse and show. So he was talking to the chickens, narrating his work as he went. He pulled weeds, scattered them for the hens to eat, giving the cockerel space to rule the flock. Identifying every plant as he passed, offering nuggets of information.

“These are nettles. They grow everywhere in the dome if we let them. But they make good tea, and can be cooked and we can eat them as a tasty vegetable. Nettles are rich in vitamins C and E. The plants are best used as food when young, before flowering or they get bitter and tough. As a medicine they can be used to treat urinary infection, osteo-arthritis, and other ailments. You can also use them in shampoo. And they make great plant food too. Fabulous plant.” He paused. “No, don’t touch them, they sting.” Eight year old Angel Reynolds pulled her hand back quickly.

It’s still very rough. NaNoWriMo is all about just writing, not editing. Just let the words run, get it all out onto paper, or into a google doc, or however you prefer to write.

If you’re taking part in Nanowrimo this year – Good Luck, you’re over half way there.

So far I’m 68% complete on the NaNoWriMo 2018 phase. 9 Days remain until the deadline.

Spaceship - The Last of Humanity
Phase:NaNoWriMo 2018
Due:2 years ago

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