Patterson Beats His Bookshop Drum

james-patterson_416x416Yesterday, the author James Patterson was on UK radio discussing his current plight, namely, saving the local bookshop from extinction. In recent years, he’s concentrated his philanthropic efforts on the noble cause of improving literacy amongst children but it now seems as though he’s been deflected by the beat of another drum.

I’ve written a number of posts regarding the demise of local bookshops and, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ll know that generally I think it’s sad that they’re going. But, it’s not as simple as pretending they’re whales and trying to save them. Can an entire category of shops be saved?

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Here Comes The Sun

photoI watched the Grammy’s tribute to The Beatles on Saturday night and was once again blown away by the legacy of songs in such a short period. It was seven years from their first single to their last and, although there are a number of shockers in the list (Dig A Pony, Yellow Submarine, Revolution 9), they were intensely prolific.

Watching other bands play their songs reminded me of how good the songs really are. Most massive bands have maybe five or so great songs that stand the test of time, and written in twice as long a timeframe. Any band where the third songwriter comes out with Something and Here Comes The Sun is pretty special.

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The Machine Is Back On Track

black-and-white-railroad1It’s been a while. How are you? What have you been up to? Sorry I’ve not been in touch, I’ve just been busy doing other things for a week or so. I travelled to Disneyland with the family, I’ve been watching far too much football and I’ve finished my next novel, Blind Faith.

I don’t really want to keep going on about the book. I’ve already told you all once that I’d finished, only to then announce that I’d had a ‘Van Gogh moment’ and started again, so now I’m going to be a bit more understated. Ssh, I’ve finished the first draft.

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Where’s The Perfect Place To Write?

SimpleisgoodSpaceI’ve changed my mind about this question several times and I’ve finally settled on the most boring answer yet. It’s something that, as a writer, we think about a lot. If you want to be inspired then maybe it’s the place, if you don’t want to be distracted then maybe it’s the place, if you need the internet then maybe it’s the place.

There are several reasons why the perfect place is as variable as the writing styles which are expounded within them. It largely depends on the author and the motivation to get the words down, but in this post I’ll look at some of the common spots.

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5 of the Best Self-Publishing Podcasts

logopodcastIn these modern times information is available from everywhere. We all try out various mediums hoping that we can suck up the information in the most efficient way possible. Self-publishing is one of those booming industries right now, where the momentum is fast-paced and any book or article is often out-of-date a month after it’s been written. Enter the podcast.

It’s easy to keep up-to-date with the news on a podcast and also gain a much broader insight into how others have been successful. The best way to be successful yourself is to copy and epitomise someone who has already walked the walk. I find for self-publishing, listening to podcasts are the best way of doing this.

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The Writing Process Blog Tour – 16th May 2014

Blog-TourSo, today’s stop for the Writers’ Blog Tour is all about me! (Thanks to Vanessa Wester, who invited me to host the tour this week)

So, this blog tour has been created in order to learn about each others’ writing processes and their work. So here’s a bit about me and my work:

About Michael J Holley — my ‘official’ bio:

Michael J Holley writes comedy fiction. He is the author of the novels ‘Plaster Scene’ and ‘The Great Corporate Escape’, and also a collection of short stories, ‘The Christmas Number One (and other Christmas Stories)’. He was born in Southampton, England in 1977, and since then has moved to Liverpool and Manchester, but now he lives in Cowes on the Isle of Wight with his wife and two children.

Having been the taller half of the rhythm section for the indie-rock band Aura4, Michael still enjoys listening to proper music and tinkering around on his guitars. He also loves watching and playing football, watching comedy, reading (of course) and drinking coffee.

His next full-length novel, Blind Faith, will be out in the summer of 2014.

And now onto the questions about my writing process!

1)     What am I working on?

Right now, I’m ensconced in my third novel, Blind Faith. It’s going to a romantic-comedy, along the lines of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls. “When you’ve been betrayed, the hardest thing in the world is to learn how to trust someone again. It’s so hard that perhaps you’d end up living a lie yourself, even if it was ridiculous?”

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Most books written in the romantic-comedy genre are written by women. I don’t have anything against this, I like women, some of my best friends are women, but I think it’s interesting when you see the same genre written from a male perspective. It throws up different comedy but obviously, the man has to be the idiot of the piece otherwise it would just be implausible.

3)     Why do I write what I do?

I absolutely love funny stories about real life. I like to be entertained and I want to entertain others. At the heart of any story is either a quest (for a thing or justice) or a romance. Romance just seems funnier to me.

4)     How does my writing process work?

Over the last two years I’ve been experimenting with processes in order to work out which process works best for me. The two attributes which are important to me are quality and speed; without either one, I would be eternally frustrated. I don’t know if I’ve still found the answer but I think I’m getting closer.

Once I’ve allowed the idea to percolate in my head for a month or so, I then dive into a mid-level planning stage. I work out how many chapters there’s going to be and then I plan what will happen in each chapter. By doing this I keep a view on the overall structure and flow of the story, two things which I’ve lost before without planning.

Then it’s a case of:

  • First Draft
  • Second Draft
  • Beta-Readers
  • Third Draft
  • Proof/Edit
  • Fourth Draft
  • Go time

By this point, I’ve become totally hacked off with the whole story and can think of ten other things which I’d rather be writing. The motivation to finish it though comes from the need to get it out of the way and clear the decks. I’m sure that the people who struggle to ever complete a novel are only ever thinking of writing one book, if you shift the perspective to a long-term game then it becomes much easier to finish each one.

So, a massive thanks to Vanessa Wester for nominating me to host the blog for this week.

Novels, Novellas, or Shorts?

theartofthenovellaAll of these formats are options that we can produce as writers, but what is the optimum length that we should be aiming for?

Following on from posts that I’ve written recently around creating products, the obvious extension to the “Product’ theory is what size product should we produce? Each format has varying levels of time commitment invested into them and therefore the choice of what you’re aiming at is actually important.

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