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The first novel in my comic fantasy trilogy, Stryke First, is now inching its way towards publication. Having been through three drafts, I’ve now printed the 80,000-word manuscript out and I’m marking up all the little cock-ups for amendment before it has a proof read. I must admit, despite having to now read this for the fourth time, I find I don’t hate it  – in fact, I still laugh in all the right places. Perhaps it’s because it’s in paper form.

Just to be an arse, I took the pile of papers (which have been grouped into chapters and stapled top left – I learned not to have loose sheafs the last time I did this) to Cafe Nero and, mug of tea and banana walnut slice in hand, plunged into the dark recesses lit only by the lights of Apple logos. I then proceeded to ostentatiously show all those prima-donnas how a real artist does it – on paper (what a hypocrite I am). Except that I’d forgotten my reading glasses, so what they actually saw was some sad old bastard who, it appeared, couldn’t afford a Macbook and so was reduced to squinting at a paper-based display and scribbling with a school handwriting pen. And there was an air conditioning vent right above my head that rustled the papers and froze me half to death.

I’m around two thirds of the way through it now – the main issue has been that (despite having been a reader most of my life) I’ve been assigning dialogue wrongly.

For example,

“Oh grow up,” She said. “and grow a set.”

Should be

“Oh grow up,” she said, “and grow a set.”

Yes, I know it’s bloody obvious now, but it wasn’t when I was writing the first draft at warp factor 20, so I’m having to mark up every single blinking page and then I’ll have to correct every single one. But then it’ll be right, and that’s what matters.

My publication deadline is the end of October. Let’s see if I meet this one…

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