The Most Important Writing Lesson of All

I finally managed to get a galley proof of my book. But the expected euphoria at holding an actual work of art produced by my own self did not appear.

I didn’t like the look of it, the feel of it or the size of it. At 110,000 words I’d expected a doorstop sized whacking big thing, but no. It looked like a thicker version of a half-sized comic. The champagne stayed in the fridge and the party hats remained in their boxes.

And that was just the start of it.

Holding the Book

Holding the Book

But as I’ve learned in life it’s the setbacks that teach you the most. And a very big lesson was just round the corner as I sat down to read my own book in print.

The experience was completely different to the 800+ times I’d read it in A4 size electronic format. It was even different from the version I downloaded from Kindle. It was a revelation.

Every author has probably read their first chapter hundreds of times. Trying to get it right. The one chapter that sets the scene, hooks the reader and foreshadows the tale to come. As I read my first chapter for the first time in print the book took on a different feel. I could almost see the words threading through the page ahead of me, like a narrow pathway leading me into the story. The plot unfolded more slowly, the characters seemed sharper and the hints on what was to come were more subtle.

It was a different book. It was an actual honest to goodness novel, not just electronic words dancing on a screen that one day would become a book. It was real.

I reached for a party hat…..

Then I noticed that some of the typeset wasn’t quite right. The chapter titles weren’t centre-justified. There were grammatical errors even after the two professional edits and the hundreds of searches through the text for missed capitals, commas in the wrong place and quotation marks not closed. The hundreds of hours spent finishing the book for a Kindle upload looked hopelessly inadequate. The book just wasn’t publishable, I’d jumped the gun like so many of my fellow writers. I’d wanted to finish the book so badly I ignored the advice to ‘edit the book to death’ before it went public.

So, on a plane last night I sat with a pen and a highlighter going over the text once more. I edited it backwards so that I wouldn’t get wound into the story and end up being more interested in the hero’s arc that the punctuation.

It’s going to take some time to fix. No-one said it would be easy.

But, to date, it’s the most important writing lesson I’ve learned.

And it’s a lesson that we all probably have to learn at some point.

Predicting the Future? Too easy!

So I set my book in 2015 and rammed in loads of innovative, amazing, incredible stuff in my own modest way. As of today – here’s how the world has caught up.

A social network grows to be bigger than most countries – and a lot more powerful

A social network is first to have driverless cars and eyeglasses that access the information highway

The Pope runs away to Castle Gandolfini

The Catholic Church takes heavy incoming thank’s to freedom of information on the web

Youngsters live ‘in a virtual world’ 

The internet is used to bring the world to its knees (that was yesterday btw in case you haven’t noticed your computer running at half speed) 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/mar/27/cyber-attack-spamhaus-slows-down-internet

Virtual sex becomes more popular than the real thing

The super-rich and the men who run the world get outed

There’s an assassination attempt at the White House – hold on, wait, that’s next month. 

I get ahead of myself some times.

Still to come

AdultOption – young people adopting older couples

The Upira – abusers of women being outed on the web using collation technology

People working for food and board to do something they love

UltraPodding – people living in complete virtuality

Bots on the web controlling supply chains and running projects

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Protocol bots keeping politicians honest (OK, that’s never going to happen)

Necropolis – a virtual place where people go where they die and live through their avatars and having NecroJobs – avatars of dead people continue working in IT related jobs

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The Glass Wall – a user interface between the dead and the living

Intelligent firewalls – computer protection that thinks for itself

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Synth DNA – its what’s uploaded to your avatar when you die

Skynsuits – body suits for travelling in cyber space or having cyber-sex, or both at the same time

iKidUnot – children tracked and monitored via the web using implants

Mobile phones that recognise their owners and only work for them

Phones that die when their user dies

The wiring of the web used as a super-computer

There’s hundreds more but its getting late, so…

Last but not least – Social Websites becoming Nations (as allowed by UN Protocol at the moment. ‘A nation is defined as an imagined community’)

iNation – why don’t you drop in for a chat? 

http://newworldforallofus.wordpress.com

 

 

 

iNation Promotional Video

Before opening this short video (67 seconds of mayhem)…

Remove all inflammable clothing

Remove glass eyes, false teeth, etc

Hold on to something solid.

Best with earbuds in and the volume cranked up

Thanks for watching!