The "Moon Crater" Write-Up, Week # 6 - How long do you stay and chat for?

# "Switch on the box, Mr Spock is on the table, Dr McCoy is unable to connect his brain..." # - Dan Wilson (Semisonic)

The grand plan: to finish the novel I've been working on for about 8 years over a period of 5 months! All of the planning, plotting and preparation is over, it's time to just get down and write the blighter! Hopefully along the way I’ll be able to pass on some tips for other first-time writers as I discover them myself! So with a working title of Moon Crater, this is my week-to-week experience of its creation to complete-draft stage... Chris G. Allan (May to Sept ‘07)

3 things that I've achieved this week with my writing:
* I've addressed niggling timeline probles and the ages of my main characters
* I've introduced readers to and allowed a glimpse at the visual world of "Moon Crater"
* I've made a potential contact for getting my writing "out there" and known

A sentence from the newest chapter of "Moon Crater":
“That’s not a sight you see every day, is it?” whispered Jo and she walked past Billy to get a closer look, but billy caught Jo’s arm firmly and stopped her from moving into view...

This week has been a sort of "wake-up call" 7 days because I've come to the realisation that I am very much in the first draft stage of my book and there's a long, long way for me to go before I get details absolutely correct and all my research for various aspects of the story are complete.

I'm grateful to my family in so many ways for where I presently stand as a writer (and where I'll go in the future) - they gave me the "story" bug as I grew up, listening to endless tales of family feuds, intrigues and of course happy times - and as I continue on the gravel path of a writing life, stumbling and tripping as I go, my family remains the true constant support, the ones who keep me going and tell me I can do this in the end...

My wife is a key member of that family and she is also the one who reads my work for the first time and so is my severest critic as well. This is fantastic though, because since I'm so close to the story with my nose pressed right up against the pages, Ali has a different, unique perspective when reading my words and she looks at the work as a reader who wants to enjoy the experience - therefore she can pull me up on any details she thinks doesn't work from her point of view.

I was told by a tutor once to make sure that I know without a shadow of a doubt how old my main characters are (in fact, every little detail about them should be known too). And this week, Ali made me face the fact that I may know how old my two heroes are but the people around them, equally integral to the plot, are more hazy. So I've sat down and written out a timeline of the ages of my 7 main characters in the book - when each was born, where they crossed lives, and in one case, where they died. It's going to prove immensely useful as I near the critical explanation chapters of the close of the book and the whole plot unravels, so I can't thank Ali enough for pushing me to finally sort that out.

Chapter 16 itself this week is one of "gobbyness" - I've realised writing it that there's lots of dialogue in it, which does move the story along but I've been left wondering if there's too much chat and not enough action. Looking at it in terms of the storyline, the preceding chapter was full of action and the following one turns up the mystery knob a notch further, so perhaps thinking in terms of "pace" in the story, this chatty chapter isn't so bad... I think I'll sleep on it some more and go back to it with a fresh eye at some point because everything I want to say in Chapter 16 is there, it's just mainly put across in dialogue at present - perhaps there's some other way I've not yet concieved in which I could put it all across more effectively...

In my other writing news this week:
- Remember how a few weeks ago I linked to the Live Theatre in my "Reading This Week" section and said I might just fill in the members of the public questionaire? Well, I did and the Theatre rang me this week to ask me to come down and interview me so I can appear on their website! Exciting stuff - free publicity maybe, but I'm really looking forward to it - I'll let you know more when it happens!
- I've finally finally settled on a "new look" for this blog journal of mine - you'll have noticed the pretty title picture above changed (as well as the light blue background to the page itself) as I've created a collage of my "pre-viz" doodles and sketches of the world of Moon Crater which I draw as I'm thinking about storylines and scenes - enjoy looking at them - there'll be more appearing in the sidebar as time goes on...
- The "revamping" process has also spilled over to my Dark Sci-Fi stories page - I've created a new title pic there as well -the WMD pic on there is from a framed picture I won on my MA course a few years back from a story on that dark sci-fi page, "The Thirst For Knowledge" - I've been wanting to work it onto one of my pages for a while, so that seemed a fitting place to add it onto now I had it scanned.

Books and writing I'm reading or looking at this week:
Harry Potter Year 4 - I'm still wading my way through it - the Tri-Wizard Tournament has just begun!
"How To Be A Writer" - I read this fantastic pocket-sized book last year while travelling too and from work, but am re-visiting it now as what it says becomes more relevant for my first draft marathon write-up!
Stewart Ferris's homepage - And here's the author of How To Be A Writer's website chockful of more amazing tips!
"The London Eye Mystery"- I picked up this book while browsing in a bookshop this week and emailed the author who very kindly gave me some tips on getting an agents!

Next week:
In Chapter 17 as I've already hinted at, Billy and Jo come as close as face to face with their hero as is humanly possible and are literally star-struck by the experience - the world will never quite seem the same again (until Chapter 18 of course!) Plus, I'd like to talk to you about everyone's friend, the humble pen...

Moon Crater key words this week:
"bingo" & "pylons"


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