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I’ve been through the desert with a horse with no name

by on October 21, 2013

I’ve had a bit of a shock this weekend. Actually, I’m going to write about it because I think that it is a salutary warning for writers. I suspect I may have annoyed my publishers, and that’s a frightening idea for any low life, sorry low list , scribbler like wot I am. I mean, how did this happen to me? I’m such an organised person.

Let me take you back slightly. Don’t panic, it isn’t like one of those boring history lessons I used to have when the teacher tried -with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm – to impart the knowledge of a particular period he had acquired a couple of hours earlier in the Staff Room whilst being distracted by his colleagues avid perusal of the news on the day’s Page Three and the Assistant Head’s insistence on listening to the racing on his portable radio. before the heady days of the internet, for younger readers, people actually listened to the radio for such things.

Anyway. When I managed to place my fantasy series and its accidental humour (Yes, that’s The Banned Underground. Go and check it out if you haven’t yet.) with a publisher, he agreed to sign me for a series. As the few people who read the books actually seemed to enjoy them, Safkhet Publishing agreed to extend the series, first to eight books and then to an open ended number. Everyone was pleased, even me, and I have to write the things. Which is hard work let me tell you, something I have spent fifty years avoiding wherever possible. But they do keep asking for the synopsis of the next couple of novels in the series, on an ongoing basis in order to whet the appetites of potential readers… which all sounds eminently sensible. Until we come to the problem.

A fellow author kindly mentioned one of these synopses in a Tweet, and I made the mistake of following the link. Two minutes later, I was cowering under my writing desk with a pillow over my head. I’ve written the wrong book!!! The synopsis, the synopsis I wrote myself as a guide to myself for the book’s plot line (so that I didn’t forget it, you see) bears no relation at all to what has come out! I had spent the end of last week happily removing about a quarter of the book from the first draft manuscript anyway, as the sub plot was trying to take over and I wanted it for book seven in the series anyway, and I was very pleased with myself for strengthening the focus and story line of the current work, entitled ‘Have Frog, Will Travel’. And in doing so, I’ve realised that the final plot line bears as much resemblance to the published blurb as a politician’s pre election promises to his/her actions after the election. How that came to happen, I’ve no idea. I had a firm idea for my plot line, and elements are still there. Lots of it is still there. Just not the bit I wrote in the blurb…

Now I have to spend today working out how I am going to confess to Them that I have messed up their nice, shiny website. Oh well. Why not go and visit their site, http://www.safkhetpublishing.com and laugh at the blurb for the book that never was?

Oh, and any points on how I deal with my dilemma will be very gratefully received….
Anyone suggesting that I might go and write the book I promised my poor, long suffering publisher instead/as well will be sent to the naughty step and made to watch Jeremy Kyle until they are properly sorry.

In the meantime, here is a note from a sponsor. It’s like the Test Card or something, but it relates to my single paranormal offering.

My book is being featured Monday at The Fussy Librarian, a new website that offers personalized ebook recommendations. You choose from 30 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic. It’s pretty cool. http://www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

Mind you, any link between computers and magic is scary, in my book.

There will be a book next year called Have Frog, Will Travel (The Banned Underground 6). It’s just it isn’t the book that anyone, least of all me, was expecting.

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9 Comments
  1. I think I know the story of the next book, but the one after that…….
    In the end the good guys will probably win but who knows how many of them will survive to the final curtain. If anyone does, could they let me know 🙂

  2. Now, I always know what’s going to happen in the last scene. It’s what happens between the first, ‘once up on a time’ and that that poses problems. So far I’ve stretched it out to three books but it could just as possibly have been four and had I thought about it properly and put the remotest modicum into planning them, I suspect it should have been five and they’d all have been the same length, instead of 50,000 words longer each time.

    I don’t know if this helps at all but I have always been in awe of your ability to plan your books like this. So first thing, don’t be disheartened. You’re still a lot more organised than many of us. Oh and, welcome – for a small moment at any rate – to my world.

    For what it’s worth, I’d fess up and send them the manuscript. Then with any luck they’ll love it and it won’t matter anyway. And how actually different is the synopsis, anyway? Does it even vaguely cover the salient points? Because if it does, it’s probably OK. Says the woman whose entire series could be summed up in the phrase, The Pan of Hamgee has got himself into a spot of bother.

    Also, you fear you may piss them off but you don’t know you will and, on a small semantic point, you haven’t annoyed them yet because you haven’t told them. So as long as you do it very politely it might not be as bad as you think. The worst that can happen is they’ll want you to rewrite vast tracts of the book. And if they do, you, of all people, should be able to shrug and say, ‘there’s plenty more where that came from’. They may even extend the deadline.

    Good luck, anyway.

    Cheers

    MTM

    • This. MTM, was my form of confession. They are distracted at the moment, so I thought I’d slip the bad news out when they are both in a good mood! Thank you for the encouragement, though!

  3. kimatsafkhet permalink

    MT McGuire is right, Will, you haven’t told them 😉 and since they never ever read stuff on the net, it’s highly unlikely they’ll find out 🙂 and who knows, maybe they never actually even read the manuscripts so it’s highly unlikely that they will ever notice, isn’t it?

  4. It’ll be fine – just pretend that it matches the synopsis and they are so stupid if they can’t see that – Emperor, new togs, etc.

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