Friday, 28 November 2008

A giant deadline, and raising a glass to JA Konrath

So here we are.

Two full days left of November, and the final stretch of the first draft of the Manx Giant to complete if I’m to hit at least one of the two deadlines I set myself back in mid-October.

When you look six weeks or so into the future and set yourself a goal, it feels like forever away. Forty-five days is a long time, but, hell, if it doesn’t go quick. The bottom line is that the first draft will be finished by bedtime on Sunday night.

The final section of the book deals with Caley’s time in America and his fame with Barnum and, as of putting the kettle on five minutes ago, I’m running through his later years, piecing sections together up until his final days in Clyde, New Jersey.

With the first draft out of the way, it will be time for edits and rewrites, plus the chance to do a bit more digging, particularly for nuggets of information from the Baraboo Circus Museum Research Centre in Wisconsin. I’ve a man on the ground in Madison who’s doing the rummaging and I’m hopeful more background on this remarkable giant can be found.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give right now for one of those time machine contraptions.


I’m glad I wasn’t trying to get published before the internet appeared. The amount of advice and information for writers that is hanging out there in the ether is mind-boggling.

Want to know how to write a good query letter? Or how to structure a synopsis to have agents fawning over you? How about the ten gripes most likely to wind up an agent or publisher and so consign your proposal package to the bin? It’s all out there.

As seasoned as I am in digging out this advice and information, I still occasionally stumble across a site that leaves me wishing I’d found it several moons ago.

I’ve visited the site of Chicago author JA Konrath a few times before, mainly for a read of his blog – A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing – as he’s a refreshingly straight-shooting kind of chap with a keen insight into the world of books.

I’ve not got round to reading any of his work yet – he’s the man behind the Lieutenant ‘Jack’ Daniels thriller series – but he’s on my list. I was over there the other day, having a snoop, when I clicked on his ‘for writers’ page and discovered an e-book called The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing Book.

In a nutshell, this is all the advice he’s collated, including four years’ worth of blogging, parcelled up into a 250,000-word, 750-page PDF. And, what’s more, it’s free. Gratis. I’ve had a quick look through, read a few sections, and it’s a wonderful resource. I can’t vouch that everything contained within is bang on the money, but heck, it’s worth a look for anyone who is a newbie looking to get a novel published.

Cheers, Jack. I’ve just bumped Whiskey Sour up towards the top of my reading pile.

This week John is breaking open:

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman


Ady Hall said...

Well? Did ya make the deadline??

Congrats on the massive push on wordage - and now you can really enjoy Crimbo!

John Quirk said...

Ady, can I employ you to sit just behind my shoulder and nag me continually to get stuff finished...??

I think you'd work wonders for my output!

Yep, finally made it on Manx Giant - first draft completed, I've got it across to the Giant's descendant who did the vast majority of the research, so will take a break from it until I hear back from him with his thoughts.

T'is indeed a good feeling.


John Quirk said...

Oh, and yeah, I was a couple of days over my self-imposed deadline of November 30. Hey, so what, just keep it between us, no one will be any the wiser...