Thursday 27 March 2014



I'm not sure if I've struck gold or merely pyrite (pirate - gerri'?).

With Blood Rose submitted to my publisher for consideration, I was wondering what to write next. For some time I've known that Blood Rose is probably the last long-distance novel I want to write. At over 100,000 words it's the longest thing I've ever written, and a fairly meaty piece of fiction.

I very much enjoyed myself, but a book like that can easily take seven months to write and the rest of the year to edit. It's a big commitment of time and imagination.

On that basis, I was gearing up to try a trilogy of shorter works. Say, something in the 60,000 range, 180,000 total. Although that's still long, you write them one at a time, so you can quit if they're not doing well, or add more if they are. It's horrible to think practically about writing a book, but things like time and marketability do play on your mind a little. More, the more you write. 

I had a sterling idea for a series. The characters were semi-formed, the plot was almost fathomed, and the concept was exciting. I could picture myself sitting in my apartment in Rwanda (or perhaps now the Pyrenees), writing this trilogy and having a lovely time doing so.

Then, a couple of days ago, I accidentally found myself looking through pictures of pirates. I was looking for something fun to photoshop myself onto for another blog post. Something at the back of my mind remembered a story I was toying with years ago. I'd never given it much real consideration, but the itch started to spread. Instead of packing, I've spent most of today reading about the Spanish Main, the Golden Age of Piracy, Barbary Corsairs, and the Pirate Round.

I'm not interested in writing another Historical Fiction piece. I'd rather do something character-driven than immaculately researched (although the Golden Age - and the careers of most pirates - seem to have been so short there probably wouldn't be much research to do), and perhaps - dare I say it - a touch more steampunk-esque than traditional? I'm not entirely sure about that yet. Maybe more Monkey Island-esque than cool.

So, I've just had a bit of a play and thrown down 1k. Typically it takes me at least 5k to decide whether I'm interested enough in the concept, and 10k before I know whether I can commit to a full-length piece. It's still early days.

I think I'm just excited at the prospect of writing something completely different to what I had planned to. If it doesn't look like a goer, I'll switch back to my original idea, but it's always worth exploring things. Usually if something gets under your skin enough that you feel compelled to play with it on paper, there's something to it and it's worth following up.

It's also nice to have started something new before I leave. I had sort of thought I'd doodle ideas and start writing properly once I get settled in Africa, but having something to take with me is really nice. Suddenly I'm not travelling alone, but with a host of new friends.

There was a terrible sense of loneliness sitting up there on top of the world. The sea stretched out like the sky, in all directions. Only a couple of lights flickered on the island, separate and forlorn, whilst above so many stars shone that, if you stared hard enough, you would start to feel your body shrinking, as though you were growing smaller and smaller until you were the size of an ant, gazing up at God’s bootheel about to descend.  
Looking down saddened Möz, and looking up frightened him.

I'm also secretly quite happy to be back in third person. 

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