Archive for January, 2007

Google’s Sense of Humour

I was trawling back through a conversation with a prospective agent in my gmail viewer. Those of you not familar with it won’t be aware that, in the side bar, google tag on ads that are context sensitive to the email conversation. Now being a software engineer I’m always intrigued by the way the underlying algorithm decides what links are relative to the conversation. So it’s interesting to see that alongside a conversation during which my manuscript was rejected by the agent, Google deems that the most relevant ads to show me are: ’Custom Essay in 8 Hours’; ‘Have you written a book?’; and my favourite – ‘Laughter Lounge – The ultimate Comedy venue in Ireland’.

Who says computers don’t have a sense of humour … or a sense of irony?

Add comment January 12th, 2007

A New Year, A New Draft

I went through plenty of mental wrestling over the Christmas break. The novel is, I have decided, trying to sit in too many camps. It needs to be re-focused so that it is resolutely a techno-thriller, and a damned good one at that (it will need to be, if it is to be a debut break-through novel).

So while I may have thought that the third draft was the final one, it seems it will have to go a fourth draft (at least). That’s not so bad really, because the other product of my vacation musings is a new, stronger plot and a more satisfying ending for the reader. Any changes for the better must be a good thing. ’Better’ (in my experience) is a very subjective concept where stories are concerned, however there are some universal constants to making a satisfying story, and anyone looking to strengthen a story line from its roots could do worse than read Story by Robert McKee. Even though it is a book aimed at screenwriters, its theories on the structure of a story are useful to the novelist also.

The new draft won’t involve as much time as the previous draft, because it is a re-working of parts of an existing novel, which is less time-consuming than a whole new novel. Which brings me to the new novel … I thought about that too. I’ve come up with a pretty exciting premise and have started to develop it, but I’m curtailing myself to focus on correcting Broken Evolution first. I would rather get that right — go through the whole process of learning to sculpt a novel, and get it done on one book — rather than be a serial unpublished novelist!

Unfortunately new story ideas have a tendency to burrow untramelled into my brain, irrespective of any overriding priorities.

Add comment January 2nd, 2007


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