JUGGERNAUT – A novel by Adam Baker – review

I first became aware of Adam Baker’s writing when searching from some holiday reading. Shopping sites remember our preferences, and sometimes they’re even correct – sometimes – and this time when searching for post apocalyptic pandemic / zombie fiction it presented OUTPOST to me. At the time of purchase there were only a few reviews. Although the reviewers were divided, the positive reviews filled me with hope that I would find a new PONTYPOOL or 28 DAYS LATER between the covers. It wasn’t until I was sequestered in by the pool, in the shade, so pale that I appeared to be in black and white compared to the other resort guests, and opened the cover of the book, that I realised I was in for a skilfully crafted and incredibly addictive joyride. Outpost

OUTPOST was an unforgiving tale of Arctic desperation, and ever pervading dread: seen through the eyes of a suicidal overweight priest and the crew of a defunct oil rig; watching the world submit to a global pandemic which turns its victims into a 21st century version of the living dead. Every page was either filled with the slow dread of eventual starvation, submitting to the elements and the bite of the infected, or I was captivated by the survivors’ Maguyver-esque attempts to turn the tables on fate.

I couldn’t wait to tweet about it as soon as I finished it – being a social media-addicted saddo (hence the blog) – and tell people that they need to grab a copy at once. That’s how I eventually came to own a pre-publication copy of JUGGERNAUT; a sort of prequel, if you will. Adam Baker read my tweets. We then corresponded. And when Adam later announced that he had written a new tale, I jumped at the chance to get my greasy paws on it. And I’m glad that I did… (forgive any spoilers!)

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100 Record Cards

I just bought a couple of sets of these 100 Record cards. Record cards

When I revise for things I tend to try and condense everything into tiny bite-sized chunks of information and cram as many notes as I can onto these cards; as I believe the act of writing something down helps me remember things. Repetition is key. Not losing them is also key. Getting them cheap is recommended. To me, these ones that already come with a ring binder are a brilliant and simple yet effective idea!

When I am writing in an ‘old school’ fashion, needing to hide away from my machine and the evil lure of the unfiltered Web, I often break my scenes or plot points down on Index Cards. then, in trying to follow Syd Field, or Blake Snyder, I attach them to my corkboard in order to visualise all of the elements of my story and then see if I need to reorder them in order to shake things up and keep the structure fresh.

Obviously using software tools like Final Draft, Celtx or Scrivener I can do this virtually without a need to kill a tree or needing to be wary of battery power or being near a plug socket. But sometimes that tactile element is incredibly important – to move something and be able to still see the entire structure in one go, and not have to keep scrolling. Currently no software package can do that for you. It’s old school brainstorming or mind mapping.Tescos Report cards

With these great cards you can carry them around, make oodles of notes and do some healthy planning and then later if you need to take the binder away and start arranging them on your carpet floor or stick them to your corkboard. Pin them to the 4 corners of your mind and then write!

That reminds me. I have a feature to get back to work on! Soon my board will be full of ideas and not a distracting picture. ;0)

LAST NITE IN SODOM – 1st Draft complete

Yes I completed the first draft of my nanowrimo novel yesterday – 56,103 words in 30 days!

Unfortunately I was distracted by work stuff and the fact that I hadn’t slept in two days and missed my chance to bump up my final official word count, before they locked the servers. Oh well… at least I know I not only completed the challenge early, I also finished the actual draft.

I will now take a month off from working on the novel, in order to get some distance from it. I will go back to working on my long delayed feature script and then come back to it in the New Year and then do the major structural rewrite fixes; before eventually looking at the quality of the prose etc.

Some people are dying to read it of course – which is nice (I’m sure that won’t last once they read it ;0) – But it is a long way off from being readable or worth sharing. However, I may just look at putting together a test chapter to see if people enjoy it and want to read more. But such thoughts can wait. Before I do that I desperately need to get my fitness levels back up, enjoy some quality reading and find my love of the written word again and find my hidden style.

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to any Americans out there. I seemed to lose all track of days while doing this competition, besides knowing how many days I had left in the challenge of course.

In other news, the last short story I penned was deemed unsuitable for the chosen publication I had designed it for; which was a great shame. However, I have been assured by others that this is apparently nothing to do with the story’s merits or the quality of the writing. Anyway, I am sending it off to other publications for consideration, so I’ll keep you posted on further developments.

Also a friend at work has installed the Mac OS on my new netbook to create a Hacintosh! What a star! So I shall soon be able to use my favourite writing software on the move and be just that little bit more productive! Waheyy! Bring on the festive season and a New Year of writing!

52k and still going

Winner's badge Yes, for me Nanowrimo should be over. After all, I completed the 50k challenge days ago. However, despite [insane] work demands I have managed to knock out 2,000 words more. The only problem is that I still have a few words (2.5k at least) to knock out before I can consider this rough and ropey 1st draft complete.

Apparently you get a free voucher for a proof copy on Create Space as part of the deal. So even if I don’t share my dodgy novel, I will have a physical reminder of my effort; a manifestation of my blood sweat and tears.

50k today! Wahey!!!!

I have hit 50K a week early! Nanowrimo is not over, although I have already completed the challenge. I still have to finish my novel, but the pressure is off to compete with others on getting to the magic marker. I am only competing against myself now! and I have one and a half chapters left to write.

Not bad for someone who had failed to even start the actual challenge, the last two years running, due to work getting in the way. It just goes to show what can be achieved if you plan properly and stick with it. Something that I am not always know for, when it comes to writing.

Of course the real issue is will it be worth reading? ;0)

Unfortunately I am back at work tomorrow, so my daily word count will be considerably reduced. Ah well….

40k and climbing – not procrastinating… no not me ;0)

I am procrastinating, putting off writing another 2k for nanowrimo – having already reached the 40k mark yesterday. Motivation is hard, when all you want to do is…. well something else. lol But I am so close now to completing this insane challenge, that it would be rude and pointless to do so.

Are you ready? For the war?

But I am having fun – listening to great tunes, such as INVADERS MUST DIE and a back catalogue of Killing Joke tunes. I do find music is helping me block out the immediate outside world and get into a flow. It doesn’t always work, but times like now my fingers love dancing across the keys to the speed of the music; rapid fire thoughts beget rapid digit-ry. Rapid tunes properly evoke the world in which my characters dwell; catapulting me back to a simpler time when the artificial stimulus was all that mattered. When the ‘could be’ was better than the ‘is’.

Show your colours, bring your colours to the floor.

So why am I procrastinating?

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