To write or not write a story line?

The first book is finished and up on Amazon and work on the second well underway, developing an idea that actually predated the idea for the first book. I have a story line which leads on from the first book, explaining how a character that appears later in the second book got there.

But I can’t decide whether to use it or not. The character is not central to the second book, and his story doesn’t directly connect to its theme.

The conclusion I have come to is to write the story line anyway. It is an interesting story, introducing an intriguing alien character, on the basis that I might be able to use it somewhere. If I have it, I can use it, but don’t have to. If I haven’t written it, I have no choice but to not use it.

I suppose that this is the essence of writing. Maybe only half of what you write will end up in the final proof of a book, but until you have finished writing how can you know which half? It reminds me of the advertising maxim “Half my advertising spend is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Maybe only writing what I know will definitely be in the final book will limit the development of characters, and leave me with a poorer choice of material.

So, I will bang out the story, see where it goes, then see if it fits, or indeed is any good. Who knows, it might end up in a standalone novel!

At last, a 4-star review

Great to get a good review of An Illusion of Peace at last, and even better it is from someone who has written several excellent science fiction books (

Was it perfect review? No, he makes the very valid points that it might have benefited from a professional editor and better cover design.

It is always difficult to effectively proofread and edit your own work and almost inevitable that, despite having proofread it three times, I missed some small errors. I suppose that I saw what I wanted to see.

As regards the cover, I must admit that I took the easy route of using one of the Amazon KDP standard cover images, adding and styling the text.

So, lessons for next time:

First, get a professional editor to look for typo’s, inconsistencies, spelling errors and general mistakes.

Second, get a professional to design the cover.

Why didn’t I do that this time, I hear you ask? And thank you for asking. The answer is possibly a lack of confidence in my book. Maybe I don’t consider myself as a real author, just someone playing at writing and didn’t want to spend money on an amateur work.

I suspect I am not alone. How many writers have the confidence to regard themselves as a ‘proper’ author? Is insecurity a key part of the writing process?

Well, the next book will be done properly, with an editor and a cover designer. But, in the meantime, I remain happy with this book. My reviewer found the story good and it kept him reading. What more can an aspiring writer and insecure author ask for?

Loving my silent Chromebook

My sound booth is in a different room to my main computer. The reason is simply the noise; computers whirl, monitors buzz and keyboards clatter. A long cable runs from my microphone interface through the attic dropping down to my little office, leaving the computer and monitors to do their worst at a safe distance.

The problem then becomes how to control the computer while sitting in a different room.

Solution 1 was to start Audition recording, pop into the recording room and rabbit away, hoping that all was OK and the computer hadn’t decided to have a breakdown halfway through my recording. Oh the joy of recording an awesome half hour of an audiobook then returning to the computer to find that it had decided to run a virus check instead of recording audio about 5 minutes into the session. That happened more than once, believe me.

Solution 2 was to connect a speaker to my interface, set the output on my computer to the microphone, then use a wireless keyboard in my recording room to magically control my computer. So I could hear my computer, but I couldn’t see it in action, or indeed inaction. Did it work? Well, yes, as long as the computer didn’t do anything unexpected, otherwise confusion most definitely abounded.

Solution 3, and the best so far, makes use of my little Chromebook. It has no fan, it doesn’t buzz, creak or click, but it does run Teamviewer very well. So my new setup is my Chromebook sitting next to me in my recording area, connected remotely to my main computer via Teamviewer, plus a little speaker connected to my interface so that I can playback clearly.

Happy times.