In Which The Writer Apologises To His Readers

23 Aug

This is, well, a confession of sorts. It’s also a bit of a ramble. Bear with me a moment.

I started writing in 2004 or thereabouts. My first book was completed in 2005. It was, to put it bluntly, as crappy as most first-time books. (So it was rejected; surprise, surprise.) I went through several attempts to write another before finally completing a second book, then a third. I think of this as my first period of serious writing. It more or less ended with United States Starship, which – I think – is the earliest example of my writing available on the site.

The second phase was rather less focused than I might have preferred. I wrote Second Chance, all three books, and the ongoing Multiverse War series. I may reuse some of those ideas, but I don’t see them as being worthy of publishing (or being paid for them.). I also wrote the first draft of Outside Context Problem and the complete first version of Democracy.

The third phase was a little more focused. The Empire’s Corps, The Royal Sorceress and Barbarians At The Gates were born during that time, which lasted until I lost my job and moved to Malaysia in 2012. (Aisha had faith in me.) So too were Invasion, The Trojan Horse, Outside Context Problem V2, Under Foot and Their Darkest Hour.

The fourth and ongoing phase started in 2012 with First Strike and continued, with Bookworm and Schooled In Magic. At this point, The Empire’s Corps was rejected – when I was sure it would be accepted – and I put it on kindle. It was a surprise to discover that people not only liked it, they were clamouring for a sequel. I was working my way through what would become No Worse Enemy when Elsewhen Press picked up The Royal Sorceress and Bookworm. Shortly after that, Twilight Times Press picked up Schooled In Magic. It was one hell of a morale booster.

And I was still putting my older works up on Kindle – or stripping them for ideas. To some extent, Ark Royal draws on my previous unpublished works; Shadow, which I may get around to adding to the free section of the site, was pretty much the precursor to Ark Royal. (Unlucky, which will be the third Angel In The Whirlwind novel if I get a contract, also has a precursor.) This has accidentally led to a problem for me.

I was trying, particularly during the third stage, to get published. My job had turned poisonous and the writing on the wall was fairly clear (and I’m not talking about the graffiti some smartass had scrawled on the walls in the toilets.) I wanted out. I wanted … well let’s just say I would have been happy hiding in my bedroom, turning out novels. (I owe Aisha more than I can ever say.) My basic idea was to write the starter book of a series, make a list of notes about how the story was mean to go, and then pick up on the series when – if – the book was published. I had a dream of producing a series that I could develop for a publisher when I was given the chance.

Which I suppose is what happened, with The Empire’s Corps. But it was for Kindle and well past the day I lost my job.

This has, accidentally, created a problem for me now. I sketched out the book that would become The Slightest Hope of Victory. I sketched out the series that would follow on from The Empire’s Corps. I sketched out the two books that followed (and will follow) Barbarians At The Gates. But some of my ideas for other books were reused, later, for different books in different series …

… So a plotline I drew up four years ago, maybe more, is now useless.

Well, it’s not useless. It’s a perfectly good plot. But someone reading it, after I give it life, will say ‘Nuttall already did that.’ And, as much as I would like to deny it, I couldn’t.

This is immensely frustrating. I believe, as a writer, that I have a certain duty to my readers. I try very hard to write the first book in each series as a stand-alone (so readers do not feel forced into buying another book) but in this case I failed. Well, sort of. The book ends on a note of hope, but it isn’t a conclusive ending.

So I’m going to have to rewrite the plot from scratch.

The truly annoying thing about the whole episode is that the planned Book III is still reasonably unique. So I now have to repair the plotline that would have bridged the gulf between I and III.


I will get round to it, somehow. But please bear with me a little.

Anyway, Wedding Hells starts tomorrow.


6 Responses to “In Which The Writer Apologises To His Readers”

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 23, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

    Take Care Chris. [Smile]

  2. Cathy Howat August 23, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, I am just wondering if you have any plans to have Emily return breifly to Earth and confront her stepfather, also returning to the Nameless world with reference materials?

  3. Kevan August 24, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    Frankly, I enjoy reading series vice stand-alones and don’t mind an open ended plot line as long as it’s clear that’s what’s going to happen and it occurs at a logical point in the story. So don’t worry about it and write the book you want to write.

  4. David Land August 24, 2015 at 1:19 am #

    Ah, to quote another writer: “the best laid plan o mice and men gang aft agly”. Don’t be so hard on yourself. To actually have laid a plot line almost four years ago and still have it be usable is amazing. I do project management for a living, and to quote some military thinkers: “The first casualty of battle is the battle plan”. The bigger the system, the bigger the plan, and the more it needs to be maintained… Almost no plan lasts more than a year without change. Just saying, that finding the need for change, significant change, is pretty much normal, even for someone who spins good and interesting stories like you do. Keep on keeping on and roll with it. No apology needed… I’ll bet you a bottle of the libation of your choice, that in the coming years you are going to need lots more changes… That’s how you will keep your plot lines and characters alive and interesting….. Love your work…

    David Land, Sarasota, Florida

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