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Rewrites are evil

For NaNo2019 I decided to be a rebel. I’ve not been completely happy with the Portal series for a long time, and NaNo gave me the push to start work. Can I say, rewrites are evil.

The best way to rewrite a piece, is to literally start with a fresh document and write the story again. So, that’s what I did. In proper NaNo tradition, I opened a blank document on the first of November and started writing. I knew the characters, the story, this should be easy, right? I even had a new cover, that needs changing too.

rewrites are evil

But no, it was hard, really, really, hard. I came across poor writing, did I really think that was good? There were whole sections of filler, pointless action that gave nothing to the plot or characters. I deleted more than I wrote. Characters no longer exist, characters changed gender, appearance. Relationships morphed into something different. Plot development scenes moved in the timeline. Place names needed to be changed when I realised my fictional town actually exists. Sorry, Wingate. With each change, tiny or huge, came an avalanche of other changes.

The sheer volume of characters proved impossible to balance, so several got culled. Some were simply superfluous. Other characters from later in the story would have been present, so they got an earlier introduction. More had to be given more depth, more identity.

It’s like writing the first book from scratch, again, with someone looking over your shoulder and telling you it’s wrong. The cascade of changes ripples through the narrative, washing away large sections, changing the course of the story.

Rewrites are evil, but necessary. I think I have a better book. It’s shorter, by about 20,000 words. In a couple of days it’ll be ready to send out to the first readers, trusted friends who will give an honest opinion.

I’m half expecting, “you changed it, I don’t like it.” But we will see. With luck, the new edition could be ready for release later this year. Then those snowball changes mean the other books will need to be rewritten too. Wish me luck.

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And onto a different design

As you may have noticed, there are some new notebooks listed in the shop. These are mostly covered in pages and sections taken from a UK roadmap. But now, I think it’s time to make some with a different design.

The roadmap notebooks are so much fun to make, and look amazing when finished. But I want to show more variety in my work. So, I’m starting work on some using wallpaper for the cover, and some using fabric. Both are incredibly tactile, and that is part of the joy of a notebook.

Each notebook is made from reclaimed, or upcycled materials. The only thing that is new is the glue!

Because each notebook is made individually, every single one is unique. If you go ahead and buy one, you can be 100% certain that no-one will have the same book, anywhere in the world. As a result, although the idea may be similar, every notebook made will have a different design.

If you have any ideas, please share them, I’d love to hear from you.

different design

And now to try to work out why my products and posts have mysteriously stopped sharing to my Twitter and Facebook. Everything was sharing automatically until the end of December, and now it isn’t. I haven’t changed any settings, I can’t find that anything has been changed by any updates (which sometimes happens). At the moment, not a clue… As always, if you have any thoughts, any clues, please do let me know!

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Roadmap Notebooks

That’s the first batch of Roadmap Notebooks added to the website store. There are various sizes, with either narrow or standard lined notebook pages.

Roadmap Notebooks

Each book is hand crafted. The pages trimmed from recycled sources that include part used notebooks, out of date diaries. The covers are made from card scavenged from cereal packets, product boxes, trimmed from the covers of the diaries and notebooks. Covered with carefully selected pages from an out of date roadmap, the only part purchased new was the glue!

These roadmap notebooks are recycling at its best. Every part (other than the glue) would have been thrown away, probably gone to landfill. But they have been given a new lease of life as handy notebooks.

From the tiny pocket sized books, to the larger ones there will be a size to suit your needs. With most materials gifted, scavenged, or otherwise sourced, the prices can be kept really low to suit your pocket too.

I’m hoping that I can start some direct sales via this site, as I’d much rather be dealing with you all in person instead of through a third party like ebay. But It’s an experiment, if you feel the same, let me know, or purchase a notebook or card.

So, what are you waiting for? Start your 2020 with a roadmap notebook, record your journey…

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Why do I have a website?

It’s a legitimate question. Why do I have a website? Or, rather, why do I still have a website? I’ve had one for years, and it’s part of my online identity. It’s the basis for my main email address, and for any selling or hobby-business I’ve run in the past.

New notebooks - or, reasons why do I have a website

So, I don’t really want to lose the domain name.

I enjoy tinkering with the site, messing about behind the scenes to make things work. Finding the right plug in combination, solving the technical side. It’s fascinating.

But, as I have definitely said before, I am hopeless at keeping up any kind of regular posting. When I do post, I ramble. There’s a stream of thoughts but it’s all over the place, unplanned and erratic. I write as I think, and that’s not always a good thing.

The trouble is, my paid job involves creating tailored, carefully thought out responses – and by the time I sit down at home, that part of my brain is done. Then, someone will say something. Or, someone will ask, do you have a website? And I’ll say yes, and point them to here, and realise that I’m not happy with the way it looks, or the way it works. A website is an evolving thing, changing, adapting.

I’m meant to be working on photos of new notebooks to add to the shop, but I’m not happy with the lighting, the sharpness of the images. As a result, I’m here rambling. I’ll work on them again over the weekend, and I hope to have the notebooks in the shop soon.

New notebooks - or, reasons why do I have a website

Allegedly, new content is the golden egg that drives traffic… We’ll see.

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Making books

Still absolutely the worst at blogging. But now and then I find there is something I would like to share. I’ve been making books, and it’s fun!

Over the past month or 2 I have been teaching myself book binding. I’ve been using whatever I have available, and it doesn’t take much in the way of specialist tools to have a go. It takes some practice, but with time and patience, I have made some nice books.

Making books

Isn’t it pretty? If I’m going to be critical, the front cover flap is slightly misaligned, and I’d like for it to line up with the front cover perfectly.

This one has multicoloured pages, and secures at the front with blue ribbon and a toggle button that slips through the ribbon if you want. I was quite pleased with it, and as a result, thought I’d test the waters on eBay with it.

Everything used to make this book was already in the house. The only things I had to buy new were a couple of tools (bone folders) and a pot of PVA glue.

This one has a cover made from wallpaper. I particularly like the way the embossed metallic squares catch the light. The leaf print enhances the design with a natural look.

My eBay items for sale.