Venus Rising Update: Beta Readers Are Go Go Go

Phew. Just in time for me and the missus to bugger off for a week’s holiday over New Year’s, I finished my initial edit of VENUS RISING, and sent the latest draft off to my beta readers.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, beta readers come into the editing process after the writer’s first edits, but before it goes to the professional editor–in my case, the lovely Misti (Level 80 Dual-Class Grammarian and Sci-Fi Expert).

Betas give feedback on high-level stuff like plot continuity, characterisation, and plain-old whether they enjoyed the story. Invaluable feedback, for which they are paid not at all. Mwahahaha.

Anyway. I was pretty happy with the first draft, and how clean it was. My initial edit was mainly running through and tightening up the writing. I’ll find out if there are any more fundamental changes that need to be made when I get my beta feedback in a few weeks. Nailbiting!

Finally, there won’t be any posts for the next week while I’m away, so I’ll catch up with you all in 2013. Happy New Year, everyone!

P.S. I considered using the holiday to outline the novella that’s next in the series after VENUS RISING, but I’ve decided to just read instead. I’ve got Old Man’s War and Zoo City waiting on my Kindle, among others. Can’t wait!


Interview with Ian Rankin at The Guardian

Worth a read here. My favourite bit:

What’s the biggest myth about being a novelist?

That we’re introspective, sensitive souls and have arcane knowledge. I used to think that: whenever I heard that someone had taken 10 years to write a novel, I’d think it must be a big, serious book. Now I think, “No – it took you one year to write, and nine years to sit around eating Kit Kats.”

Important Notice for Kindle Paperwhite Readers

It’s come to my attention that there’s a bug/feature in the Paperwhite that means it displays many, many ebooks in a tiny, unreadable font which the user can’t change. Unfortunately Amazon are claiming this is working as designed, so the only thing we authors can do is reformat our books and reupload them.

And that’s what I’ve just done–a new version of Ascension Point is now live on Amazon.

So, to anyone who has bought the Kindle edition of Ascension Point, and owns a Kindle Paperwhite: please delete the current copy from your device, and redownload it to pick up the latest version.

This has been a public service announcement. THBAPSA.

Achievement Unlocked: Complete First Draft of Venus Rising

That’s right, folks. The first draft of my second novel, VENUS RISING, is in the bag. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing it, and I can’t wait to go back to the beginning and take my metaphorical red pen to it.

Like this, but metaphorical.

(To those folks who suggest waiting two months before editing: I have not your patience.)

Read more…

China Mieville on “Cognition as Ideology: A Dialectic of SF Theory”

Wow. I only just came across this, but China Mieville–Hugo Award-winning author of Perdido Street Station, The Scar, Iron Council and The City and the City–gave an hour-long lecture at the University of Kansas in 2009 where he discussed the scholarly theory and political implications of science fiction, and the distinction between science fiction and fantasy. It’s fascinating analysis from a fascinating writer and thinker.

“The cognition effect is a function of charismatic authority. It is the surrender of the reader to the authority of the text, and the authority of the author function.”

Or in other words, the science in SF need not be plausible for the story to be ‘believable’, and for the reader to happily immerse themselves in the writer’s world–but only as long as the internal logic of the story is consistent, and the author presents the ‘science’ of the story’s universe in an authoritative–or charismatic–way.

Worth setting aside an hour for. Videos embedded below the jump.

Read more…