More literary/genre musings – 2020 Writing Week 37.5

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I’ve been reading up some more on the difference between literary and genre, and found a way to express that feels true for me, as the guy who writes it. When I’m writing, I want to feel like I’m on an adventure. I’m exploring a new space. Maybe it’s the human condition. Maybe it’s a social issue. Maybe it’s how far a plot/character thread can go. I don’t know exactly where it’s going, and I don’t know exactly what the end is. All of these unknowns are what make this kind of writing so fascinating for ME. I’ve always just …

I write literary?? – 2020 Writing Week 37

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Maybe I write literary books. I’ve heard people say this before. My writer friend Matt has said I’m a literary writer yearning to write genre. I took it on board, thought I understood it, but yesterday the same idea hit me deeper than before. First, let’s look at what ‘literary’ writing is, and why I have resisted embracing the label for so long. Here are 6 features of literay fiction according to Wikipedia: A concern with social commentary, political criticism, or reflection on the human condition. I definitely do this. With Wren the social commentary, political criticism and human condition …

More Chris Wren noodling – 2020 Writing Week 35

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Today’s thinking about the Wren readthrough takes in a new direction. Yesterday I remade the cover and rewrote the blurb, but am thinking one or both of those may have been missteps. Here’s the ‘new’ cover (quote marks because it may not be the cover for long). I made it dark after feedback from the 20books thriller group, and a survey of other dark thriller books out there. One key is – there’s a lot of black, often they’re monochrome, and often feature red heavily. I do rather like this. Maybe it’s too much though – could be signaling horror, …

Christopher Wren crossroads – 2020 Writing Week 34

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It feels like I’m standing at a crossroads for the Christopher Wren series right now. For months I’ve been eliciting and getting feedback, working on the book, trying to increase the uptake from book 1 to book 2 and onwards through the series. There are lots of pieces involved in this, but primarily it’s been about reducing the violence. BUT What if this is the wrong direction? My earliest inclination in the marketing copy for Wren was to use lots of horror-tinged words like bloody, gory, terrifying, vicious, brutal etc… Over time I’ve been counseled not to use these, which …

Rush of Wren critiques – 2020 Writing Week 33

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In the last week a number of Wren critiques have come in, kind of reaching critical mass for me. At the same time, I’ve had a couple of fantastic reviews. Let’s go with fantastic first. A review on one of my Facebook ads. Usually all I get on these is people arguing about whether Tom Cruise makes a good Jack Reacher. I actually deleted all of those. But the good review said this person loved Christopher Wren. Honestly, this may be the first person to say this. In the early days, a lot of people said he was impressive, but …

Writing Retreat wk 1 – 2020 Writing Week 32

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This week has been week 1 of mine and my wife’s writing retreat. We have a 2 week summer holiday that was going to be a couple of different trips, which all got squashed by corona, so now it’s a staycation. A Writing Retreat staycation! Intense writing. I did the following to prepare for this: Make a sun screen hood thing for my laptop so I can write in the garden without screen glare. Wear a black shirt helps. this involved ordering black card from Amazon and necessitated waiting a day. Right after I made my screen, family came for …

Back to writing Wren 5 – 2020 Writing Week 31

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It’s been a quiet week in terms of editing/writing – I tinkered a little with books 1 and 2, whenever Su gave me some feedback. I got a couple of really great reviews from new readers on book 1. This one is on the US store: The story is a pulse-pounding tale where the protagonist’s external struggles are only slightly more harrowing than his internal ones. When I finally reached the epilogue I took the first breath I’d enjoyed in about 30 pages. Loss and triumph are carefully interwoven so that each heightens the other and the tension between them …

Chris Wren series fixes pt. 4 – 2020 Writing Week 30.5

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More fixes to Chris Wren book 1, Saint Justice, have been coming to me and getting implemented over the weekend. Here’s the story so far: Part 1 – The questionnaire answers on Chris Wren readthrough, and my responses – Mostly people mentioned lack of engagement, the sickness of book 2, Wren was unlikeable, and cost. I vowed to do better. Part 2 – I got feedback from Su and boughtt he K-lytics report. Here I thought hard about my book titles and blurbs, and changed them all. I also started thinking about streamlining book 1. Part 3 – More feedback …

Chris Wren series fixes pt. 3 – 2020 Writing Week 30

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I have written no new words this week ahahahaha! Rather I have been reworking past Wren books in line with feedback I got from the questionnaire and from Su, and proof-listening to book 4. Let’s take those one by one. Reworking the Chris Wren series Part 1 – The questionnaire answers on Chris Wren readthrough, and my responses – Mostly people mentioned lack of engagement, the sickness of book 2, Wren was unlikeable, and cost. I vowed to do better. Part 2 – I got feedback from Su and boughtt he K-lytics report. Here I thought hard about my book …

More ways to fix the Chris Wren series – 2020 Writing Week 29.5

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Last Thursday I wrote up the results of my fan questionnaire on the Chris Wren series – read that here. In summary, I had 62 responses, the majority were about reducing the price, with a handful of others saying the topic of Monsters book 2 was a big problem, some comments about Wren being unlikeable, and several comments about the book not being engaging. Well. I’ve thought about it all. Su’s been reading book 1. I’ve reflected. Then on Saturday I bit the bullet and bought the k-lytics report on the vigilante justice genre. It was only $40, but I …