The website of the historical fiction writer.

Archive for January, 2012

Ghost Stories

What do you look for in a good ghost story? What do you think a ghost is? Would Piranha 3D have been a better film if it featured bankers, politicians and people who invent corporate cliches and jargon? Yes, readers, this is what the South Coast Scribbler has been thinking about this last week. By the way, I see people are starting to read and follow this blog. Welcome to you one and all! Thanks for stopping by as they say on Anchorman! Bring some friends if you want to.

Me and my writing friends have been talking about the strange frontier that is electronic publishing. While the Viking book sails to various agents (had rejection number five one Tuesday but a very encouraging one, though) I thought I’d have a little go at this with some short stories. I’m currently putting together some ghost stories and might see how that goes. Anyone published electronically before? How was it for you? How would you suggest doing it?

I also saw Piranha 3D the other day. Very interesting film. It shows a strong sense of imagination, let alone an exhaustive knowledge of marine biology and human anatomy.

Anyway everyone, the draft for Chapter Two of Novel 2 is finished and now it’s time to think of a new ghost story. Stay Classy and don’t have nightmares.




I’m sorry, I can’t speak Chinese very well. Let alone write it! I should confess I put all this through Google Translations so apologies to anyone if this says anything truly offensive.

Anyway, Scribblers, good evening one and all and Happy New Year! Happy Year of the Dragon. Let us all hope that this year brings the world good luck, joy and publishing deals to those who deserve them! To celebrate I’ve cooked stir fry for three people in three saucepans! One can’t eat soy sauce and the other is a vegetarian so it was a challenge to say the least. The meat was almost fit for a barbecue and the once-green peppers were now thin black strips. Suprisingly, though, it was quite nice if I do say so myself!

My ability to use WordPress has gone up a notch: I can now use widgets and you will see my little badge from NaNoWriMo last year. See, it is possible to write 50,000 words in 30 days and they’ve got a good set of t-shirts from their store!

Novel 2 has overcome the first hurdle. The draft for Chapter One is complete. Only nineteen to go now. Anyway, have a good Spring Festival one and all. I’m going to finish a very good book called ‘Notes from an Exhibition’.

Back Scribblin’

Well, after Tuesday’s blip I managed to get back to scribbling ways and wrote over a thousand words in two days. This does not seem like a lot, I know, but when you think I work full-time, have competitons to enter, research to do, other books to read and two very greedy cats, it doesn’t leave much time for actual writing. Still, better than nothing. I’m now taking a risk and treating myself to a night off. It is Friday and the ideas are still going around in my head – a very important part of the creative process.

I see in the news that certain bankers could well be stripped of their knighthoods. Finally the government are taking action! Perhaps they could go further and make them travel the length and breadth of the country on their knees saying sorry while doing other forms of Medieval penance? And give back their bonuses and obscene pensions, of course. Just a thought.

Anyway, the weekend is upon us. A time for sorting out of boxes, reading of books, writing of novel and perhaps the odd short story. And, of course, the Weekend Film!

It Begins!!!

Well… sort of.

Yesterday I got to the end of the Chapter-by-Chapter Plan for the Second Book and edited it here and there. Some say this is a waste of time and is quite restrictive but, having written a novel and lived to tell the tale, I can safely say it was a great help. You write each chapter out with which charaters feature, what they think/say/do and where it happens.

‘But it’s still too restrictive!’ I hear you cry. That does not have to be the case? Changed your mind? Don’t worry. All you need to do is alter it to put that new character in, add a couple of chimneys to their roof and change the area where they live from some boring suburb in Boringtown to a war-torn rubble.

‘But does it make getting started easy?’ Well, no. In the last two hours I’ve managed to write 65 words. Not good, even by my standards. Of all the times for Writer’s Block to strike it had to be when I thought I was ready to get started on the next book! Even the intellectual scientific chat on that Stargazing programme on the BBC isn’t helping! And to think I was churning out over 1700 words a day for NaNoWriMo only a couple of months ago!

Oh well. Let’s have another go…

A Gent who Needs an Agent

Well, Chapters One, Two and Three have been sent to six literary agents, some just twenty minutes into the New Year. I did this in the hope that they will think that I am a serious professional who is dedicated to his craft. I’ve got a feeling however, particularly when I tell people this that I had nothing better to do that night. Still, I sent three e-mails, plus another enquiry and three weighty jiffy bags to those who’d rather have them posted.

So far I have had three rejections and the one who had the enquiry has asked for the chapters. This isn’t unexpected and the first rejection was actually quite positive and encouraging. It’s a shame some send standard letters with no advice but if I was drowning in a tide of hopeful literature, I’d probably do the same.

Still, what with my lack of competition wins and a radio play rejection, I now feel like a real writer. All I need now is someone to take me on and perhaps a nice little publishing deal…


Right. Well, it’s here. Has the world ended? (OPENS EYES) Nope, still here. (CREEPS TO THE WINDOW AND OPENS CURTAINS) Yes, everything’s fine.

 Well that’s all good. Can’t see any Pale Horsemen out the window either. Well, we’ll just see how that goes. Just another 365 days to go (it’s a leap year too, so I’m told). And weren’t the fireworks good in London last night? Do you think they bought too many for the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee and used them all then? Still a good show and those ones flying out above Big Ben would have made Guy Fawkes proud.

Soooo, let’s sort this blog out. Let’s have a look at the statistics… how many people have read this in the last few hours?



What the f…lipping… well it was New Year’s last night and I’m probably one of the few people in the country that doesn’t feel hungover so give it some time. I’ve got Blogging for Dummies upstairs so that could help. Anyway, Happy New Year to anyone that does come and read this. You’re more than welcome.