Welcome to the web page and blog of Gregor James, children and adult fictional author.

Allright imaginary fans. So a couple of things to update you on. Firstly, John my author buddy told me some home truths about my short story. Unsurprisingly for a first ever short story, it has significant structural issues, which I am glad to get the chance to work on. As I was sneakily aware, my biggest problem is perspective - I am utterly useless at appraising my own work. Most of the things John said make me go 'yeah of course. I knew that. Why didn't I do anything about it'. To which the answer was: 'You have accused yourself of every possible kind of writing issue, so picking out the genuine ones is not always easy'.

Anyway - to assist me I have purchased a kindle copy of 'The Story Grid' by Shawn Coyne (amazon link). I am not sure whether I'm going to apply to Woburn, the first story, or write a new one I have half planned according to the new structure. I'll let you know how that goes.

Secondly I feel the need to express my thanks to Brad Reed, of the Brad Reed Writes podcast and other resources https://www.bradreedwrites.com/ for giving me oodles of writing tips - including the recommendation of Sean's grid thing. About 25 years ago I went to a creative writing class - and it was a bit pants tbh. Teacher was very charismatic but useless - not really interested/able to actually teach anything about plot structure, characterisation. Anything at all really. If only she'd been more like Brad I'd be famous by now!

So that's it for now. Tune in next fortnight/month/aeon.

Hello again - quick one today because I am prioritising badly. I'd rather eat barbecue than talk to you basically.

Some progress. My wife read the story, said she didn't 'get' short stories, and corrected a few typos. Triumphant, huh? 

Better is that I have made more attempts to get other folks checking my stuff out. I've signed up for Scribophile - a peer review site similar to YouWriteOn, but with a payment model (yuk), and a much harder way of reviewing - it seems like you have to do it all online, which I don't really have time for. I sent them a grumpy mail - which I need to check for a reply to actually. 

Also I sent to book to my author buddy, so will tell you how horrible he was about it. 

Plan for next blog is to get a piece of the book onto Scribophile, and find out what short story sites/publishers I could submit my thing to, though acceptances seem pretty rare.

They haven't seen my beautiful prose yet though. Aha ha ha. Ha ha. Hmmm.

Anyway ttfn - see you in a fortnight...ish


'sup gang. It's me again.

So I think I might have missed a slot. Sorry about that. But it does at least mean that I have news. The short story is finished. Yay! But I cannot convince either my wife or daughter to read it. Boo! This is not what you'd call an auspicious start.

But besides this I feel strangely optimistic. I have lined up 2 proper beta-readers - one fellow struggling author (though he's been published, the git) and a friend with similar fantasy/sci-fi reading tastes. I was just hoping to get someone in the house to stupid-check it first.

Speaking of writer infrastructure, I've been trying to find other sources of help. Remember YouWriteOn - the place where people would review a chapter of your book if you did the same for them? Gone. Not entirely sure where, but the site is down :(. Apparently there are other places, but I haven't got the time/cohones together to check them out yet. Currently wrestling with urges to start/research another story/do more paid(ish) work. Indecision is final again.

So what you you do, web-crawler/hacker bot? OK - you'd register this site as not worthy of further action and move onto the next one. But what if you were a helpful conscious entity of some kind, rather than a semi-autonomous algorithm? You'd tell me to seek the answer inside myself huh? Well that was helpful.

I think the last time I was at this point I decided to focus on the resources to hone the writing. Review sites, forums and that. So I'll do that. And come back and tell you about it. Because I know you are counting on me, right ;).

So the first thing I should say is - well done me for coming back after 2 weeks! This is probably the high point in terms of productivity though, as the short story is still at 5- well maybe 6 thousand words. Remember last week I was waxing on about the sotrt story being a medium for learning. Well that might be true, but it's also fertile ground for constant re-writing. 

To be fair it probably needed it. I'm a sucker for plot twists you see. I think everything I've written so far has some stab at a killer ending - just because that's what make me love to reader other stuff. So this is based on a twist, but I feel I have failed to set it up properly. It's like my guy goes for a coffee and then suddenly someone tells him that his whole life is a lie - not quite that bad, but nearly. So I need to set it up, while trying to keep things interesting.

Trying to think of good plot twist endings now. The Wasp Factory springs to mind. I'm struggling to think of many in the fantasy/sci-fi world. Iain Banks (RIP) has done a couple. China Mieville was always good at an unexpected - and therefore satisfying - endings, but it not a twist along the lines of 'ha - you were in VR all along!' or 'you are actually a Fish!' or whatever. Is that because they are all quests? I don't know - will have to come back to that.

The other thing of note is that the latest Brad Reed podcast has told me I need to do mindfulness, which is something I've been thinking about for a while, and dabbled in, but not really embraced. So trying to get started on that properly, while restructuring the story, holding down a job, doing progressively more sadistic 'PE with Joe Wicks' exercises. Lots and ,ots to do. Better get busy!