Saturday, 21 May 2011

Bite-Sized Chunks - Day 3 - deliberate vagueness

Chronoligically, my calender tells me this is not day three of this project. However, it is the third update. So...

I sent a press release to the Falkirk Herald and a story about the webseries appeared in the paper on Thursday. I've had one response directly from that by someone who wants to be in the series. I've had a few responses on facebook, too. Unfortunately, the story doesn't appear to be on the online version of the paper.

We ran into some location problems, but I used my diplomatic skills to sort things out. I never even knew I had diplomatic skills. Making a webseries, even just planning a webseries, is on the one hand such an awesome cool thing that I'm having the most fun ever, and on the other hand, I'm learning so much so rapidly.

One of the things I never considered at college that I'm learning now is set design. For the series to work the way it needs to, certain things need to be included in the set design. Tiny things that the viewers most likely won't notice the first five times they watch it. But by including them, the entire thing will be so much better.

I'm being deliberately vague here, because I don't want to give away spoilers. This show could seriously be ruined by spoilers. So vagueness is required.

Anyway, since I've been considering set design, I've had to look into set design. It's such a totally interesting concept. Unfortunately, we have a limited budget, but I can really understand how hard it would be to start with an empty room and furnish it for a big production.

It says something about the character who lives in a house if he has a painting on the wall. An original Van Gogh says something different to a painted portrait of a loving family which says something differnt to a run of a mill print they bought in Tesco's for £15. If the picture is hanging squint, it says something about the character.

And you have to do that with every item. All the time.

I might do a later post just on set-design. It's a totally fascinating subject.

Other things that have been happening: we're hammering out an overview of the series. Although it's about survivors of a zombie apocalypse, it's more of a psychological horror than a gore fest. Don't be expecting The Evil Dead because those types of films haven't influenced this at all.

I'm not going to mention what films have influenced it, but right now me and Fiona are making a list of all the films and episodes of TV shows which are in someway similar to what we're doing. At some point these may need to be watched, just so we can be totally familiar with how other people have presented the things we need to present. We'll consider carefully what works and what doesn't, and how we can adapt what has worked for other people to work for us.

It's really interesting in that college taught me the basics I need for doing this, but doing this has taught me so much more than college ever did. And will continue to do so...

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Bite-Sized Chunks - day 2

It's 1:05 pm and I thought I better update my blog. I've done a few things already that I want to share on here. I find it utterly fascinating, but then I'm fascinated by marketing and the like so that explains why.
Firstly, I rolled back the minimum donation on my IndieGoGo fund raising campaign to just $1. So, that's like 50p. If I can raise £500 it pretty much covers equipment and props for the shoot, so if everyone donates $1 I'd be really ecstatic. Truthfully, I'm not expecting to reach £2000 in forty days.

Secondly, I updated profile on Twitter, and spent an hour on Twitter friending people and making comments. I was using Twitter religiously by the end of last year. I'll be completely revamping and re-using Twitter from here on out.

Thirdly, I updated my profile on Linked-in and spruced it up a bit. It's looking nice.

Fourthly, I put out a call on facebook last night for musicians who'd be interested in having their work in my webseries.

And fifthly, I researched product placement. Unfortunately, I really don't think product placement will happen on Bite Sized Chunks. You need to approach your chosen company with viewing figures and basically show then how including their product in your series will impact on them. So to do that, you really need a series already done. However, if Chunks is successful, product placement may well happen for my planned next programme, Saltire, which will be filmed in October.

And it's only just hit lunch-time :)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

New Project - Bite Sized Chunks - Day One

Okay, first of all, my writer's block is gone, and it's 50% done to a blog post by Mars Dorian: writer's block is for pussies!

And 50% done to the fact that I'm AWESOME.

So, I'm back, and I'm working on something fantastic, and I'm gonna go straigt ahead and tell you all about it.

I'm making a webseries.

I'm making a freaking webseries.

Yeah, that's right, not a novel this time: a ten episode webseries called Bite Sized Chunks.

I'm not doing it alone. Oh no, I have a fantastic partner-in-crime. Fiona Rix is one hell of a talented camera operator, she has an excellent photographer's eye, and she's really talented. And not just for a girl. She's easily as good as a guy.

She's on facebook but I'm not guaranteeing she'll accept your friend request. When you friend her, send a little message that it's about the webseries, and she might accept.

Bite Sized Chunks

10 episodes, each one less than 5 minutes in length, but what's it all about? Well, that's simple: it's the story of a group of desperate people who have managed to survive the country being overrun by zombies.

Boring. Zombies are done. There's nothing new to do with zombies. Zombies are pish.

No they aint, kid. Trust me on this one. Bite Sized Chunks is not your typical zombie story. It's more psychological than gory. It's more about the survivors desperately trying to survive than the horrorific monsters that share their world.

It's new, different, edgy and dark.

So What's Happening Right Now

I've written an episode guide. Fiona's adding her own ideas to it, and we'll pound it out until our creative vision meshes and we're happy with the outcome. Then we'll write the scripts for each episode.

Fiona lives in Edinburgh and I'm just outside Falkirk so we're corresponding by text and sharing files through and I totally intend to do a future blog post on this joint writing thingy and how bloody useful is.

We've got our character ideas nailed. There are 5 characters and I'll do a blog post on them as well.

I launched our fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo and we're trying to raise £2000 in 40 days to pay for equipment, props, and meals during filming. We're not making any money out of this and we have a £0 budget currently. We're considering hiring equipment from Pilton Video.

I've secured the main location for the film shoot, we've settled on the date that shooting can begin (23rd June) and Episode 1 is written.

I wrote a Press Release and sent it to my local newspaper, the Falkirk Herald - not sure if they'll take it anywhere or not, but it's worth trying. I've put a call out on facebook for cast and music and a call on media muppet for cast.

And I sorted out my new website and updated it with info about Bite Sized Chunks. You can find my website here.

Not bad for day one of my project.

This blog will be regularly updated with progress and, when we have them, images.

It's all go from here... :)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Not so Hard

So, I've not been blogging much. And I've not been writing much. I can't even say I have secret things I've been working on... well I could but that would be a total lie. I've got a kind-of writer's block the now. I've pretty much had it since I separated from my wife in November.
I used to write every day. I used to write because writing relaxed me and made me feel better about everything. But in some small way I think I blame writing for my marriage breaking up - I was on my pc far too much. I wasn't just writing, and there was far more to the break up than that. And I'm not going into it in anymore details because it's personal.

I'm into sharing. But I'm not that into sharing.

So, I figured I'd force myself to write a blog. And then tomorrow or in a few days I'll force myself to write another one. And maybe eventually I'll get back to writing novels.

But what to blog about? I could blog about my life I suppose. The thing is, right now, I know so many secrets it seems to be what my whole life revolves around. There are small secrets and big secrets, secrets that could cost people their jobs or their marriages, secrets that would only cause embarrasment or anger, and secrets that would break people's trust in me.

It makes blogging hard.

I'm in a good place (in my head) the now, actually. It's a strange feeling, but I feel kinda at a turning point. A few months ago I was the lowest I'd ever been, pretty much the lowest its possible to be. And I've been going up since then. Had to, really, couldn't possibly go down.

And now I'm doing pretty good. I won't say I'm great, still really need to find a job and a house. But good enough for now. Happy-ish.

There, that wasn't so hard after all.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Do You Even Realise How Bloody Hard it is to Think up a Catchy and Relevant Title?

Ok. This is not a blog post following the style of my usual blog posts. This is instead a mish mash of crazy ideas. It's insane!!!!!!

Yeah, maybe not, and I feel like a prat for writing that.

Okay. My life:

I'm going to a spiritualist church tonight, my first time ever attending. I recenty bought myself Tarot cards, too. Hmm. I may end up all Sixth Sensei - probably not.

I joined a dating website. It is very strange and I'm not comfortable on it, and most of the girls there terrify me a bit. There are a lot of weirdoes in my neck of the woods. C'est la vie, baby.

I made a film (short documentary) about Girls Who Play Dungeons and Dragons. It is not a nice film, and quite rips the piss out of D&D players, but hey - I reckon they should be used to it.

Actually, I used to play. Now I play (and much prefer) Savage Worlds. Recently played Deadlands Reloaded and loved that enough to want to write something in the Weird West.

Think that's enough about life.


Imported files from 3 different flashdrives and 2 computers to my new laptop and completely file managed it. I found the YA book I'd lost.

My writing consists of:

Matilda Raleigh: Invictus - currently unpublished, due for editing and perhaps a cover overhaul

Cyborg Killer - a pulpy, noirish styled novel set on  hydropolis (floating city) in a future earth where the sea waters rose. Ethan Wilkes is chief of security for the cybernetics Megacorps, and someone is killing cyborgs. Could it be the bio-genetically enhanced terrorists who are angry that a cyborg is too be allowed in the Olympics for the first time ever? Or is it something much more sinister? Wilkes and his deputy, Blood God Moon, must find out the answers. Would have been hard even if Wilkes hadn't just become legal guardian of his daughter, Crystal Strange, whom he hasn't seen in 13 years...

Princess Lucky and the Dead King's Diamonds - mute squire Sebastian, apprentice druid Thomas, and Princess Lucky (daughter of Arthur, and heir to Camelot) must combine the broken pieces of the dead king's diamond into a whole and destroy it, or all Camelot will fall. Meanwhile, the child-eating witch Baba Yaga hunts Sebastian for her own nefarious purposes. A YA book, dare I say similar to Harry Potter?

The Wordsmith of London (Circa 1880) - a former couple, who recently went through a bad break up, get sucked into an alternate world where fictional characters exist. It's all the fictional characters you might expect to find in Victorian London, from Dracula to Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan to Phineas Fogg, a Tyrannosaurus Rex to Tarzan. Very fun. I actually wrote this about 3 years ago; it has not been influenced by my break up in anyway.

Naked Flesh-eating Lesbian Zombie Chicks in 3D - THIS IS NOT IN 3D! A small town is overrun by zombies. This is set in Denny, where I grew up. It's a love story, actually. Kind of. A romance. And it has the best sex scene ever in it. It's also about secrets, responsibility, consequences, and growing up. And it's about dads. Not my dad, just... dads.

If everything goes to plan, all six of them should be out this year. I definitely plan to have invictus rereleased and Cyborg Killer out this year. I reckon I might also get Wordsmith out. These are the ones that need the least amount of work.

Which means Nasty, Mean-spirited Evil Little Goblinses (Be Free in Your Hearts) will be scheduled for next year, or the year after.

Oh, and I've been talking to a freelance editor on facebook, we're trying to agree to something. The only reason I didn't have Invictus edited waas because editors tend to be a bit anal about pricing. $30 an hour and no idea how many hours it will take....

If I needed my house plastered, the plasterer would come out, have a look, and give me a quote which would possibly change. If an editor said "Send me the m/s, I'll take a 10 min look at it, and tell you my initial impression of how long it will take," then Invictus would have been edited.

I mean, I can afford $100. I'd struggle with $1500. And if he wanted $15000, then if he worked 5 hours a week on it, I'd have 2 years to save up...

And that's all folks.

Friday, 18 February 2011

In Which I eat my Words

In my last post, I spoke of how indie writers are secretive, and I also mentioned sales numbers. I wasn't particularly meaning indie writers are secretive of sales numbers: traditional publishers aren't very forthcoming either. My main point was that indies can be different from trads and still look professional.

Anyway, I shall have to eat my words.

Here are some sales numbers: Susan Bischoff, Victorine Lieske, Guido Henkel, B.V. Larson, Blake Crouch, Sam Torode.

There, that's just a few. There's a whole host of guest posts on Joe Konrath's blog about this very thing.

And S.L. Armtrong kindly shared hers in the comments of the last post.

S.L. Armstrong describes herself as a midlist author, but she is selling in a genre (m/m erotic romance) that is notoriosly difficult to sell in. Susan Bischoff has sold 10k books in just six months with only a single YA book released. Guido Henkel hasn't been selling quite as well as the other names up there, but essentially they are Amanda Hocking's peers.

At the same time, e-book readers are down to £75.

At the same time, Borders in the U.S. has filed for bankruptcy. Borders in the UK went bankrupt and closed a few years back.

And now Aplle is challenging Amazon, which I haven't been able to find a link to, or read upon, or anything, so I'm not going to comment except to say it's happening.

What does this all mean?

Fucked if I know, but it's exciting, isn't it?

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Why I Unpublished my book, and What is Next

You know, I'm getting a bit sick of all the tra la la las. Things folk are saying, advice they are offering, and its the same shit all the time. Here's one I hear a lot.

if Stephen King wouldn't do it, I won't do it

Okay, in actual fact, I've never heard that, never with King's name anyway. But peeps keep floating in comments about how a trad pubbed midlist author doesn't do certain things. So Indies shouldn't, cause it makes us look professional (if'n we don't).

Personally, I call that a crock of shit.

Trad pubbed midlisters (TPMLs from here on) have rules to follow, like Never Piss off a Potential Customer, and so on. And if they did, they'd get their asses chewed by their agents and editors and everyone else. It's why so many TPML books are formulaic, and it's why so many readers love the originality and personality in indie novels.

Shouldn't we let some of that originality and individuality shine out of our asses, too? Sorry, I meant shine out of our blogs.

So what makes indie's look professional? Well, great books, great covers, great storylines, good editing. Those kind of things.

I'm not saying you should be like the monkey at the zoo and fling your shit at people, but I am saying with no one breathing down on indie's backs, its refreshing to be honest, and up front, and just be yourself.

I've noticed indies can be a bit "defensive" about certain things, like there are rules
  • don't talk about money
  • don't bad mouth other indies
  • don't bad mouth the trad publishers
  • act like you've got a big stick up your jacksie
Some of that's just pish. Here, look, I'll break some rules and the world won't end.


I published Invictus on Smashwords on Sept 10th, 2010. I put it on Amazon a month later. It is now the 16th of February and I have to date sold (oh my God, don't reveal your sales figures)

50 copies
Yep, that's all.

40 on Amazon, 10 on Smashwords.

Amanda Hocking I aint, huh?

So, what went wrong? Well, it was actually quite a lot of things.

For one, the cover. I like the cover, but it is very plain, very bland. Invictus begins in medias res and never comes down. I want the cover to reflect something of the story, whether it be the airships or the demons, the revolvers or the clockwork robot assassins.

For two, the pacing. Invictus, as I just mentioned, is fast. Very fast. It races from attempted royal assassination to the sinking of the Titanic, setting fire to half of London and crashing an airship along the way. The pacing needs to be reconsidered, and one or two slower moments introduced.

For three, the editing. Which will be a post all on its own.

For four, the marketing. I released Invictus in October, separated from my wife in November, and am just returning to my book in February. All the marketing Invictus had was word of mouth, and that didn't happen much. Not surprising, with the points addressed above.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Resurrected from the Ashes


Anyone still read this?

Probably not, lol.

Hi. My name's Chris. I used to live here, or at least I spent so much time online that I felt like I lived here.

Apparently, my wife felt like that, too, lol. We separated in November.

That makes it sound like it was all because of the blog.

It wasn't.

It was about 70% due to toothpaste, and about 30% due to lack of certain lubricants. Romance writers take note: applied in certain areas, toothpaste burns.

No, that wasn't true. Mostly.

The bit about the separation was. The reasons I'm not sharing. :)

Being a guy, I moved out and left my ex the house and kids. I'm still looking for somewhere to stay. Things have been difficult. Parts have been fun.

The strippers on xmas eve were great. The doc trip afterwards, not great. I've never been so embarassed, getting lectured on condoms by a middle aged woman. Again, not true.

I write fiction, for fuck sake. I'm supposed to make stuff up.

I haven't really written since November. I'm starting to knock ideas about. Could be a while before anything makes sense. Could be a while before I post again.

In the meantime, I Aint'nt Dead.

Free STD if you know who wrote that. :)

Love xxx