Over the Shifting Coral

I'm working on fantasy book "Over the Shifting Coral".
Graphic Novels
I like to have a bit of a draw, but writing is my passion.As such, I struggle to make much headway with my graphic novels. Updates, and new drawings, will show here...

Story Addict

By Tom Care 25 Jan, 2017
So my next book "Over the Shifting Coral" is FINISHED. My marvellous editors are picking it apart but they have said that they are happy with chapter one. So that's something.

Wanna read it? Of course you do!

Here's the link:  http://www.tomascare.co.uk/over-the-shifting-coral1
By Tom Care 01 Dec, 2016
So my book is finished! Or very nearly... it has to be checked and refined, but I've written the first draft. And I like it too! Which is probably important.

Editing takes a while though, and well it should. The perfectionist (hidden) in me demands heavy scrutiny. But of course, at the same time, I get very excited about the prospect of publishing a new book. Must. Be. Disciplined. Not my strong suit...
By Tom Care 23 Nov, 2016
By Tom Care 23 Nov, 2016
The Virtual Book Fair...

...was a big success, and a lot of fun too. It came to a close at the weekend, and I particularly benefited from being able to interact with so many avid book fans.

I ran a giveaway of all my books in my Virtual Booth, and the winner will be announced later today. 

My new book...

...is pretty close to finished. I've also named it (finally), having given it a working title previously. It will be called "Over the Shifting Coral".

You can read more about it here:  http://www.tomascare.co.uk/over-the-shifting-coral1
By Tom Care 04 Nov, 2016
I'm admittedly very poor at doing anything to market my books, and my own apathy annoys me. When I saw the opportunity to be in a virtual book fair however, I couldn't resist. They are growing in popularity, and it's easy to see why; for one, the actual marketing is more of a collaborative effort, with things such as a blog scavenger hunt helping to encourage involvement with as many of the 'virtual booths' as possible. Secondly, I get to do a lot of the work on my own timescale, whenever I get a spare minute, with it all coming to fruition on the day.

I also get to see how some of my peers approach marketing, rather than referring to one of the many cover-all articles about all of the time-consuming ways to interact with readers, I can get to see how they do it in a practical, realistic way.

Anyway, more details to follow in the next day or two...
By Tom Care 14 Oct, 2016
...although some people might argue that all my writing is crap... I hope not... #sadface

Actually, I honestly quite like my own writing, as egotistical as I know that sounds. But when I don't like something, I try to be as brutal as possible with it. My default approach is to jam my finger down on the backspace key until I can't bear to lose any more work. That normally means I'm at something undeleteable, and therefore worthy of reading.

That's not my only tactic though, at least it hasn't been lately. I've been writing a much more complex and involved story, and so every sentence pretty much puts a tick in a box for a planned (minor) plot progression. Just deleting willy nilly is far too dangerous, unless you want to take the time to untick all those little boxes.

So a more pragmatic approach has been required, where I cut out the bit I don't like but put it to one side, until I am satisfied that all the little plot-points raised have now been assimilated into the replacement scene. It's not as dramatic, in fact it's downright grown-up of me, but hey it's good to have a bit of personal growth from time to time... #happyface
By Tom Care 04 Oct, 2016
And I can happily say it feels as though I've moved the plot into the second half of the book. This was a point in the story that I've been wary of for some time. The two halves of the book are quite different, and I'm very conscious of how to prepare the reader for a change of scene. We've all read books where it feels as though we're reading something different to the book we had grown to like, and sometimes you can feel let down by that. It can also be exciting though, and I'm striving to ensure a positive reaction to an expected change.

This transition in the plot has been almost as time consuming as the whole first half of the book. That doesn't bother me though. I'd rather get it right.

More writing planned for tonight!
By Tom Care 27 Sep, 2016
Well, I was writing, then I went on holiday for a week, but now I'm writing again! Yay! Or at least, I will be after work today. And after I've cooked, and studied, and visited my Mum etc. etc. etc. etceteraaaaaaaargh!!!


Story Addict Status? Season 2 of Daredevil, which I took with me to Lanzarote
By Tom Care 05 Sep, 2016
Reading it with a view to add more to it. 77% of the existing manuscript revised, shouldn't be long before I can write again. Lesson learned? Don't leave it so bloody long next time...
By Tom Care 02 Sep, 2016
Reading: The Stars from the Dead - 51% the way through existing manuscript
Watching: Arrested Development *chortles*
By Tom Care 23 Aug, 2016
If there's one thing that happens when I get a new computer game, it's addiction. I've always been the same. No Man's Sky provides the right mix of relaxation and intrigue, and I've indulged it over the past few days.

I'm going to have to wrest my attention back to my chief hobby now though, and get back to work on my book.

Story Addict Status:
Watching: The Killing
Reading: Caldé of the Long Sun
Writing: The Stars from the Dead
By Tom Care 18 Aug, 2016
Crikey, I don't think I've written a word of my book for months! I'm going to have to get back in the habit. There's a great big chunk of story just itching to get out. My created world has so much to offer, and it feels as though the only limitation on revealing it is my own apathy.

I must get back on the horse. I want to. I'll start, I just need to re-read it all, and get myself back up to speed.

The problem is, I've written so much already, and so there's a lot to read...
By Tom Care 06 Jun, 2016
Watching: Ant-Man, Ratatouille (must watch something a bit more grown-up...)
Reading: Litany of the Long Sun
Writing: Precious little...
By Tom Care 31 May, 2016
How stressful is buying a house? I'd forgotten what a pain in the arse it can be! Needless to say I've had precious little spare time and so no writing has been done. The lack of internet has interrupted my usual set up, too.

Everybody draw a sad-face on your monitor with your finger.
By Tom Care 19 May, 2016
I've been working a bit lately on the pieces of the machine that aren't directly exposed to the reader. My upcoming book (The Stars from the Dead, as you know by now) is deliberately built around a series of complexities, from politics to exploration, climate change to terrorism, and religion to magic. There's a lot that bubbles on in the background, a lot that the reader might only glimpse (unless I spend some time on appendices, hmm...), a lot of perhaps mediocre things that must occur behind the scenes to lend credibility to the main storyline.

For me it feels crucial to really work hard on the details here. I'm placing a lot of value in the character building this time round, following feedback on earlier books, and people are affected and shaped by the complex world around them. We are all partly constructed by nature, but nurture has its influence too, and so to understand the person, I must understand what nurtures them. So it follows, the more love I put into the world, the more the world will produce people for the readers to love. And love to hate.

Having a rich tapestry underpinning the presentation of the story should help me to monitor continuity in the story. In my experience, readers are eagle-eyed and will pick apart inconsistencies without even having to put too much thought into it. They instinctively recognise when pieces of a puzzle don't fit, or have been lazily jammed together. Why would I risk their enjoyment of the book? If they stop to scrutinise the story's failings, then they'll like the book less. They might even put the book down for a bit. They might not pick it up again. I don't want that, I want a relationship with my readers where I hold up my end of the bargain, and we all follow my adventures together. I owe them the detail, visible and hidden alike.
By Tom Care 11 May, 2016
Reading: Lake of the Long Sun, by Gene Wolfe
Writing: The Stars from the Dead
Watching: Daredevil, Southpaw, Bates Motel
By Tom Care 04 May, 2016
So I'm definitely going to waste too much on a blog that virtually nobody read. Talk amongst yourselves, I'm on a roll...
By Tom Care 27 Apr, 2016
I hate writer's block. My normal tactic is just to hold down the backspace button until I can't bear it any more. That's when you know you're back to the quality work. I can't quite bring myself to do that this time.

Partly this is because what I'm writing is quite complex, and trying to re-conjure those threads is a bit daunting. Partly though, it's because I don't think what I've written is bad. It's just wrong somehow, it needs an inquest, not an execution. 

So my standard plan for attack need to be reconsidered. No more gung-ho choppy-choppy. I need to be a bit more sophisticated. It's making my head hurt...
By Tom Care 20 Apr, 2016
My new book is very much written in two parts, the first part being a sea voyage, the second part being the time spent on land. They are very different arenas, with different constraints and opportunities.

When at sea, the environment is very closed and familiar - and risks being monotonous and boring, just as most trips at sea can be.

On land, all boundaries are torn down. The characters are no longer confined by the ocean, and the pool of players can be added to on a whim. That's particularly handy, given how fond I am of killing them off...

There is a concern though, that the reader will suddenly be presented with a story so very different from what they have invested themselves in. Will it disaffect them? Will I lose readers at this point?

I've done my best to lay groundwork in the form of precedents. That should hopefully make the second half of the story feel as though it was planned (which it has been (this time!)).

As to when it will be ready, which is the top FAQ at the moment, I'm aiming for the early part of 2017.
By Tom Care 11 Apr, 2016
If you can make it so the reader can see the picture you had in your head, using only words, then you have succeeded.

A good example? Anybody who read the Hobbit before they watched any of the Peter Jackson's Tolkien adaptations will say that Gollum was exactly as they had imagined him.

So how can we achieve the same result? Sometimes it can just be about writing down what it is you see in your mind's eye, other times you may need to think a bit more out-of-the-box. I recently read a description of a hover-car racing along a desert that was compared to a brush of yellow paint tracing through grey water. I've paraphrased and not done it justice, but that was pretty good and so I could see the image.

It served as a good reminder to try and take the time in my own writing to ensure I have immersed the reader in my world.
By Tom Care 04 Apr, 2016
I'm so keen to get so many different things done, that they're all clambering on top of each other to try and dominate my attention. It's time to take a breath, and a little step back. Can I get everything done? If so, there has to be a way to do it in a more organised manner.

Of course, the busier we are, the less likely it is that we'll like we can perform this crucial triage. Please note, I've neither done any of the things I should be doing, nor taken the step back. I've written a blog post instead...
By Tom Care 29 Mar, 2016
If you hadn't picked up the vibe from me yet, I can confirm that I really am not optimistic about my upcoming financial exam. It's a bit of a downer really, as studying for it really ruins the work/life balance too.

I'll be glad to get it out of the way. don't get me wrong, it is good that it furthers me in my profession, and better helps me to understand all of those complex components of personal finances, but it's dull and difficult and it couldn't be more different from the pleasure of writing fantasy novels.

2 weeks to go. I can't wait, regardless of the result.

Story Addict status:
Watching: Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead
Reading: AF4 Investment Planning, Litany of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe
Writing: This blog, and that's about it really...
By Tom Care 21 Mar, 2016
Okay, so it's pretty much my own fault for blindly agreeing to take a work exam at the same time as the tax year end (a busy time for those of us in the financial advice industry...) but now I'm stressed, which makes me pissy. It also makes me less creative, which makes me really really pissy.

I just want to write, so if there are any mysterious benefactors out there willing to fund my fanciful stories, please get in touch. Failing that, I guess I could always take a sick day *koff-koff*...

At least it's Easter this weekend!!
By Tom Care 14 Mar, 2016
You can only feel sorry for those people who sit and read my book in my presence. I keep interrupting..."which bit are you on now?"..."what do you think so far?"..."which bit just made you laugh?"...I'm insufferable.

That probably says more about me as a person than a writer, but I'm not about to self-psycho-cross-analyse what that means.

On a side note, I seem to be more in love with writing than ever before, prompting all sorts of questions such as "should I quit my day job?" and "why am I doing x,y,z when I could be writing instead?"

Story Addict Status: Critical
Watching: The Returned, Horns, The Book Thief, The Walking Dead (tonight, yay!), Better Call Saul, The Martian, Ted 2
Reading: The Book of the New Sun (still!) by Gene Wolfe
Writing: The Stars from the Dead, end of tax year letters to clients about their pensions, witty blog entries
By Tom Care 07 Mar, 2016
I don't want it to be too different from the first half, and I've tried to write plenty of precedents for the weirder things that are yet to happen. For me, as the writer, I've been excited at the prospect of discovering a new continent, and having that immense blank canvas upon which to play.

But for the reader, well they've been stuck on a boat with me for the first half of the book, so it might be quite a shock to see this new world. I'm hoping it will be fun for the reader without losing any of what they liked about the beginning.

I always had some pretty stunning things planned, and tried to bear those in mind, shaping my characters so that they are ready to react to the new culture, and interact in a way that showcases how this new world ticks. I imagine this is going to be an aspect I have to keep going back and revising. Books, to a great extent, write themselves sometimes.

Whilst trying not to go too crazy, I also don't want to dilute this new world. Striking the right balance will be tricky, and is it is so subjective, I'm sure not everybody will agree on whether or not I've got it right...
By Tom Care 04 Mar, 2016
In this blog I'm going to refer a lot to the book I'm writing, called The Stars from the Dead. It's a much bigger project than the books I've written before. I am trying to make it more involved and more engrossing. There should be more detail and I want you, the readers, to really get to know the characters.

These are the things that I had heard the most from those kind enough to give me feedback on my first series of books, and so I've really tried to knuckle down and get that done.

I'm halfway through The Stars from the Dead now, and I think it's time for a couple of people to have a read and let me know what they think. Of course, before I subject anybody to my books I like to give it a once over. This is now taking me longer than I thought it would. I write faster than I read, it seems...
By Tom Care 23 Feb, 2016
Some proper blog content to follow shortly, but suffice to say I'm as addicted now as I ever have been!

Writing: The Stars from the Dead
Reading: The Stars from the Dead (getting it ready for a halfway-point edit), The Book of the New Sun, Framing Ink
Watching: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and all things Marvel (most recently Guardians of the Galaxy)

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