Just Some Stuff I Wanted To Say
This is quite a self-indulgent post and I’m somewhat sorry about that. The fact is I’m buzzing (not like that). Beck’s Game has been one of the most successful writing projects I’ve been involved in. (My plan was just to write because I liked to do so). At the time of writing this, in total across all six parts, there have been well over 7,000 downloads. Every part, with the exception of the last to be released has over 1,000 with Part One now at 1,762 and still growing. Part Six is catching up as people reading at their own speed are coming back for more. This has far exceeded my imagination. July 2021 was in itself the most successful month my blog has had since I started. I realise this might seem like boasting and for that I do apologise, I state this however to also let you know I am so grateful to everyone who drops by and spends a little bit of time on my writing. So this is a “Thank You” post.
Thank you to the downloaders, the readers, the people who have said nice things, the businesses that took my hidden cards, the re-tweeters (a single retweet helped so so much) and you the readers of my blog. I really appreciate it.
The writing of Beck’s Game is a story in itself and being on the inside there are things I’ve wanted to say for no reason than I want to tell someone; hence I’m not completely sorry this is self-indulgent. Normal service will resume soon with some blogs about books by other people, I promise.
Last year, the year we want to forget yet call 2020, was the year I published Indoldrum. I’d started writing it before “events” became apparent and aimed for a summer release, which I got. To be honest the lockdowns didn’t impact it too much. I tweeted I’d finished the first draft on March 24th the day after the first lockdown in the UK. So redrafts, edits and all the rest were all done in our new world, but I was going to do them anyway, and when I get obsessed over writing I don’t need to be told to stay at home.
And so the book was released and as far as I was aware that would have been the end of my writing for a while. A novel is a big thing to write, as much you have a head full of ideas you need a whole lot more to make it work; and when it does it takes it out of you. I’d written Framed Of Rathgar summer 2018 to spring 2019 and then Indoldrum winter 2019 to summer 2020. I had no plans… then I had an idea.
There is no way I’d compare myself to the writers I admire, but I can learn from them. I love Fydor Dostoevsky and he published some of his novels in instalments in the The Russian Messenger before they were actually combined in to a volume. I had a blog, you might know of it, and I pondered the idea of releasing a serialised story using my own facilities. Of course this is not a new idea, there are lots of writers doing the same thing, but it hadn’t occurred to me before that I could use my blog to write fiction as well as write about it.
You may have picked up I’m a bit of Doctor Who fan so the concept of telling a story in episodes is one I’ve grown up with, again it just hadn’t reached me until then that a writer didn’t need to be writing Doctor Who to do it, not that they do it much any more. I liked the idea and it suited the direction I wanted to go in. Indoldrum is rather an introspective novel and Framed Of Rathgar is deliberately slow, so I wanted to do something more action/adventure and faster paced next, whenever it was. I had the idea, I knew how I was going to do it, but it was now late summer, restrictions were easing and I was off travelling the country and “all this” would be over soon, so I thought.
I said earlier that you need more than a head full of ideas, you need to turn those concepts and fragments into a story. You need a hook, you need to hang good things on to it. I didn’t have any of that, and no real desire to get back into deep writing for a while, I’d been locked in enough. I tend to find the idea needs to be strong enough to motivate me to sit at my desk and type, I need to become obsessed with it. If it’s not strong enough to do that to me, how can I expect others to be interested in it?
But then driving the motorways of England, between listing to Garden’s Question Time and podcasts of Rutherford And Fry I found myself thinking. If I was going to write a six part adventure, for some reason it was always going to be six parts, what would the story be? What did I find exciting? Easy, maps geography… the London Underground! The moment it hit me, write a story about the London Underground, I was excited. I had a motivation, now I just needed a story and the time to do it.
The story of Beck’s Game came quite quickly, and I mean the whole story, I’ve only told one third of it so far. I soon realised six parts was not going to be enough. So I found myself daydreaming, the daydreams became spreadsheets, became word note pads of odd lines, became so much more. I experimented and soon came up with the format of Part One and then onwards. I now had a file open with the first “episode” as I found myself calling them to begin with, I still slip – I think it’s because my brain is programmed because of early Doctor Who!
I had planned it to be more of an anthology with each part being a self contained story which built into a bigger narrative. But in planning this it wasn’t really working, and I planned more for this than anything else I’ve ever written! Naturally it came out in the format it finished in, it felt right, the other way was more convoluted – however each of the six tales have found a place in the ongoing chronicle, some have just had to wait until a later series.
From late summer 2020 until early spring 2021 under two more lockdowns I wrote the whole thing, not just the first six parts, I mean the whole thing. I probably want to re draft the rest as in the time that has passed I’ve thought of changes I’d like to make, small ones, but other than that the whole thing was finished before Oxford Circus was released. I’m so pleased I decided to do it that way. The stress of thinking I’d now have to write two more series would be too much.
And now it’s out there, which is kind of scary to be honest. I know not every download will be read to completion, but that’s the case with any writer and their work. I’m just totally astounded, I honestly never dream of figures that high! Thank you.
As for what comes next? Well as I said the rest is written. I do want to have a bit of a break as it has consumed me over the summer, in a good way, but it’s a dark world and I need to step away for a short while; as well as to stop writing long self indulgent posts here! I want to get back to reading and writing about others. However I’m planning on releasing Series Two around the end of the year or early 2022 if I can, it’s a guess at the moment, but that is the aim. Rhys, Neil, Sophie and the other Players have much ahead of them. We have some new characters and the whole story becomes a lot bigger. There are whole lines of the Underground we’ve barely mentioned and parts of London that hold many secrets.
Series One will remain on this blog, under Beck’s Game in the menu, for as long as I feel it appropriate. I can’t overstate how grateful I am for the support Beck’s Game and myself have received, and I promise, normal service will now resume.
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