Keeping the Words Flowing

I’m Mark Wilson. Bobby’s Boy is my debut novel.

It’s been an interesting process, writing my first book, but a fantastic one as well. I began writing the novel as a short story titled “The Rusted Key” in October 2011. The story was based around a simple concept, inspired by a graphic novel called “Stray Bullets by David Lapham (I won’t divulge the concept here as it would act as a spoiler for anyone who hasn’t read the book). The short story grew so I started calling it a Novella and kept writing. The Novella began to gain momentum and slowly became my first novel. I made little progress over the next few months, finding myself short of time, and even shorter of discipline. Then January came.

January 2012 was a turnaround month for the novel. I decided at the start of the month, under the advice of Mark O’Donnell (my best friend) and Jack White (via an interview he did on keeping creativity flowing), to dedicate at least an hour every day to writing the novel. At the end of Janaury I renamed the book “Bobby’s Boy” as the previous name just didn’t work anymore.

1000 words a day was my target. According to Mr White, you’ve got to work your creative muscles like any other and use them every day. To an ex-gym addict it struck the right note. Some days it’ll be shite that you write (like that wee bit of poetry I slipped in there), others you’ll produce work that’ll make you wonder where the hell it came from when you re-read. I take the rough with the smooth. The important thing is to keep the story moving continuously and to not “wait for the rays of the sun to shine on your keyboard, ‘cos you’ll rust your ideas”.

Some-days I managed more words than I’d  targeted, a lot more, but I never fell below at least 1000 words a day. My new “working ethos” helped me jump from 22.500 words on January 7th, to 75000 words in the completed novel on February 14th.  I’m not saying that these words were all brilliant, some most definitely were not, but they did moving the story on, and were re-written on another day. Not bad for having a full-time job teaching high school kids and my three year old son (my top priority) to keep me busy also.

Invariably I would sit each session with a destination in mind for where the story would go, but no idea what words would come to get my main character where he was going. It was fun to discover the story s it came onto the page.

The discipline worked and the ideas and words just keep flowing. I truly didn’t have the time to make use of all the ideas my brain was bringing to the surface. Some were utter bollocks, some were quite good. I note everything down, every idea and quirk of thought in the hope of finding a few hours sometime to explore them. Perhaps one day I’ll reach my goal of writing full-time.

Tom Kinsella, my Novel’s main character, has had one hell of a ride through the book, travelling extensively through Europe and North America in the company of two rock acts and had some crazy experiences. In the process he confronted some truths about his family and himself that he was unprepared for, but survived to build a new life.

I’ve re-visited some really dark experiences during the writing of this novel and in the construction of Tom’s character and story. Some of these I’d forgotten about for decades. Other memories have resurfaced that I’ve enjoyed remembering for the first time in many years.  I had fantastic fun writing my first novel, and resent deeply the gap I have to enforce to market and Promo the book. I just want to start my next project, but books don’t get themselves noticed.

I’m looking forward to seeing the final edit of the book completed in the next two weeks and to putting Tom out into the world to be interacted with or ignored, what-ever the fates may bring. I’ll be sad to leave him and will miss writing about this cool, lucky, happy, tragic and a little damaged wee guy every day. Still, onto the next one, with gusto.

Orignally written as a guest blog for http://www.kindlepromo.com

That Difficult First Novel?

The cover for Bobby's Boy, Mark Wilson's debut novel

Um… not really, no. It’s been smooth sailing so far, well the writing part anyway, the promo and marketing and formatting and designing? Well that’s another matter.

I finished my debut novel on March 14th-ish and figured that was it. Get it on Amazon, wait for everyone to appreciate my witty prose and tear-jerking scenes and watch the readers grow. Yes, naive would be exactly the correct word to use.

I passed the novel to my editor confident that I’d given her a more or less complete and perfect manuscript. I was sure that there’d be many a spelling and grammatical error (I’m dyslexic after all), but was equally sure that everything else was in order. Ha, not so. I’ve had so many changes to make and sections to rewrite and clarify that its felt at times that I’ve rewritten the whole book. I do not resent a single change as each one is slowly polishing the jobbie of my story into a sparkling-clean and error-free debut novel. Each change is making the novel read better and rather than resent the changes, I’ve come to welcome them with gratitude.

I’m around a week or so from publishing at the moment and have spent my time since the March “completion” of the book wisely. I’ve learned all I can about the marketplace that I’m about to enter, about promoting the book, about social networks, blogging, networking, Createspace, LuLu, formatting, cover design…..The list seems endless and exhausting. All amazing fun though.

I made a collection of short stories and published a little 100 page book titled “Paddy’s Daddy” and released it for free, then at a very reasonable 77p on Amazon and was rewarded with around 400 people picking it up and 8 positive reviews. I released the short book as a taster for the novel and as a kind of extended Biography. I want people to know and be able to connect with me as a writer. People read and buy other people.

UK:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paddys-Daddy-ebook/dp/B007ODTM3M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333301957&sr=8-1

US: http://www.amazon.com/Paddys-Daddy-ebook/dp/B007ODTM3M/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333302013&sr=1-1

I answer every email and Facebook post, every tweet and enquiry. It’s a pleasure to recieve the interest. I’ve done a guest blog on the intial writing of the book for an excellent and supportive site set up to promote Indie Authors which you can find below and I’ll post up as a separate blog:

http://kindlepromo.com/writing-book/#more-148

I’ll write a blog later in the month abbout what I’ve learned and found useful in the build up to releasing the book.

It’s very much like having another full-time job or a business to run, but one which you think about every waking (and some sleeping) hour, and one which you take great pleasure from every little success.