Blog Revival Plans & Novel Update!

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Hello, my little tiddlywinks! It is I, the Blogmaster General, here to inform all and sundry that I fully intend to return to this blog with a vengeance!

I’ll be posting reviews of not just the rest of the INVISIBLE FIENDS series, but the complete SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT and DEPARTMENT 19 series, too.

Why those two particular series, I hear you ask?

Because they’re awesome.

That is all.

No, really.

Oh, alright, here’s the secret: the good and kind people at HarperCollins Children’s Books have sent me copies of both the latest DEPT 19 book (BATTLE LINES) and the SKULDUGGERY spin-off, THE MALEFICENT SEVEN. Expect a rollercoaster of reviews to come!

Now, for the novel news: I submitted the first thirty pages of THE ENIGMA FILES to Brooks Sherman back in the middle of December, 2012 (as opposed to, erm, December 2013…? Eh, you know what I meant).

He finally had the chance to read it, liked what he read, and wants to read the entire thing! I sent it off this afternoon – fingers crossed!!

That is all.

No, really this time. You’re dismissed.

Dave

PS: Are you still here? Hmm, okay then, here’s some Super Saiyan French Fries:

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Happy? You may leave now.

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My PitchWars Rollercoaster

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So, January 23rd is quickly approaching like a ravenous jaguar that’s just realised its prey got stuck in a bear-trap (this happens more often than you’d think. Seriously, watch Discovery once in a while), and I’ve finally finished the line-edits from all my betas, finishing with my mentor’s. It was a hard and informing journey, but now we’ve come to the biggest monster of them all: addition revision!

But Dave!” I hear you cry. “The agents will be reading your opening in just two days! Aren’t you worried that they’ll be reading one version and unknowingly making requests (hopefully) for an entirely different one?

Not at all, dear friends, and allow me to tell you why:

1) I’m smarter than I look, believe it or not: I’ve already edited the opening that the agents will be reading so it won’t be different.

2) There’s not exactly a mountain of changes to make, and seeing as how I’m practically snowed under, I’ve got all the time between now and the 23rd to slip in the additions. And seeing as how they’re not entirely game-changers, it won’t wreck the narrative one bit.

3) Don’t call me Dave. Only friends call me Dave.

4) … What’s that? I said you were my friends when I started this list?

5) Okay, then. Call me Dave.

Where was I…?

Oh, yes! The additions.

Well, they range from bit-parts to major character motives, scene changes or alternative versions, and the addition of new ‘casefiles’ pulled from the Enigma Files website itself.

That’s right; not only has this last month given me a huge, unique insight into both the agent-hunting life (my mentor chose mine from hundreds of other entrants submitted to her within a week), and the author-agent dynamic, but it’s also shown me how someone who shares the same passion for the future of your book – agent or beta – can only be a Good Thing, and will often lead to the improvement of the book.

In this case, the improvement came from my mentor Jennifer. Not only has she jumped at the sight of my ‘X-Files for kids‘ tagline, but she’s done everything in her power to eke out every last possible drop of X-Filesness… Which led to the casefiles.

These are the sort of ingenious suggestion that make you slap your face in disbelief; I mean, I’d always considered adding casefiles, but was worried that the inclusion of non-fictional segments would never work. Then along comes Awesome Malone, the Master Mentor, with the same desire to see more files explaining the paranormal and that, as they say, was that.

Now, whenever Karl Breslin – protagonist and administrator of the Enigma Files website – mentions paranormal phenomena, the reader can expect to see more information on the subject in a casefile at the end of the chapter.

It’s working out great so far, and I can’t wait for Wednesday.

Until then!

Dave

Do you have any special methods of revision? What about special features in your books? Lemme know in the comments!

What ARE The Enigma Files…?

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So, some of you may know that I’m working on the second Enigma Files book, working title ‘Cursed’. You may also recall that I’m about to send out the MS for EF 1, ‘Phantom Thief’ to several agents who expressed interest in my short twitter-pitch on such contests as #PitchMadness. Well! Another such contest, #PitchWars, is now looming on the literary horizon, I’m which mentors hook up with aspiring writers to help rhythm polish their novels ready to unleash upon the pack of slavering agents. I’m entering, with the first EF book in mind… And prospective queries were almost immediately answered by two such mentors, one of which pointed out there was no in-depth description of the book anywhere in sight. So, for Fiona McLaren, Brenda Drake and any other curious mentors/agents, allow me to give you a glimpse inside… The Enigma Files. When Mason Scott was uprooted from his home and friends in New York to join his mother in Nowhere, England (also known as Hetherby), he expected life to be boring. What he didn’t expect was that he’d soon make friends with a silver-haired, emerald-eyed super genius with a penchant for seizures, or the strange new world that the same boy would introduce him to. Because, in case you hadn’t realised it, Karl Breslin is no ordinary boy; whilst most his age are playing football and chasing after girls, Karl lives his life through the Enigma Files, an online wiki he’s created and runs to document and investigate the paranormal. There’s a thief about the school, but one unlike anyone’s ever seen – because they can’t be seen. But are they using elaborate tricks, or something more supernatural? Were they dealing with a psychokinetic mind, a poltergeist, or something else…? Karl seems to think so, and before he knows it Mason is dragged along on his investigation. Mason is happy to oblige – it gets him out of lessons for the rest of the day – but is soon targeted by the thief, who threatens his life if he doesn’t leave Karl alone. Unshaken, Mason and Karl continue the case to its startling conclusion, and a revelation neither expected. ~***~ That’s the best I can come up with on the spot. Hope it’s done its job, and piqued your curiosity! Until next time, Dave

Me No Funny…?

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For those out there who didn’t know, I submitted two stories to the ‘Greenhouse Funny Prize’, a literary competition for new and unagented writers from the UK. The shortlist was announced today, and neither entry made the cut.

Am I disappointed? Only slightly: there were over 720 entries, so competition was tough. Plus, one of my stories was a madly-redrafted second draft after my betas tore the original a new one weeks before the deadline. And the other was a fantasy that only contained comical moments, so it stupid even less of a chance. But you don’t get anywhere if you don’t put your work out there!

My best wishes to all shortlisted entries!

Does this mean the end of my attempt at a professional writing career? Well, yes and no…

It’s the end of my attempt to be a funny writer – at least for the foreseeable future. Sure, I enjoy a good laugh, and making others laugh, but in trying to actually write something funny, I’ve spent more time staring at blank pages than with any other genre. It’s HARD.

So, I’m sticking to what I know – paranormal adventure! Don’t worry, there’s no angsty vampires pining over socially stunted wretches (seriously, though, if you were nigh-immortal, and as ‘gorgeous’ as Edward is supposed to be, why in the blue hells would you wait all your life for a plain, emotionless emo? Think it through, vamps…) – no, we’re talking good, old-fashioned paranormal investigation stories. Because, let’s be honest, there’s more to paranormal than vampires and werewolves… So much more. Some more disturbingly human than you know.

More on that at another time,

Dave