Monday, 5 June 2017

Langley Shivers - The Start, The Process, The Goal

As I've been doing a lot of work on my new book 'Langley Shivers: Title To Be Announced' (that's not the title, by the way!), I thought I'd sit and do a process piece; where it all began, why I did, how I do etc.

So, firstly, I'm more of a comic book nerd rather than a book worm, but there are quite a few books that I'm really fond of: George R.R. Martin's 'Tuf Voyaging', Derek Landy's 'Skulduggery Pleasant' series, Jason Bradbury's 'Dot Robot' series, and, whilst not a novel by any stretch, is Phil Baines 'Penguin By Design', which was a fascinating insight into the world of the published covers by Penguin, are just a small number of my personal favourites.

The latter book was gifted to me by a late friends father, who thought I could get some great ideas from it (which I did!), his son was a graphic designer and found great inspiration in the book, which has in-depth pieces from the likes of Jan Tschihold and Romek Marber. It's not only a great book visually, but also a very interesting read.

Nonetheless, my wife is an avid reader, from paperbacks, hardbacks, to kindle, she has a book with her always (I'm forever finding about three books in the bathroom!), and it's also something my son has been a fan of, he's only three and already has more books than I do!

But, even not being a massive reader, I've always enjoyed writing, and I began taking more of an interest in more and more novels, until I thought "I'm going to write my own book!" Which, as with most things, didn't go to plan.

The first book I started to write (not including anything wrote under the age of 16), was about a Vampire/Lycanthrope hybrid, which was, well, pretty amateurish at best. There was no real plot, no draft, and realistically, no originality.

It didn't last long.

After many, many ridiculous and rubbish ideas, I began planning a story about a skeleton, who was the Grim Reaper, however, as being the Grim Reaper didn't pay as much as it used to, he began moonlighting as an Estate Agent.

I really liked the idea, and I spent a good year writing it, and settled on the name Langley Shivers. The problem was, that it wasn't exciting, there was no fun in reading about it, as in order to make it 'believable', Langley had all manner of devices that allowed him to blend in the living world. And that's where it pretty much went downhill.

And so, I shelved the idea, and pretty much forgot about it for a long time. Focusing my time on TG-Radar, then later Tech Beever, my writing time was pretty much taken up by articles for the aforementioned websites, and then I was hired by Blogcritics, and so I had to shift all my review writing to them.

After a while, it was decided that all my reviews would go through Blogcritics, and that Tech Beever would get the same reviews and hour or so later, which meant my time was freed up a little more, and that lasted a good while, until we hit the dreaded game drought.
Usually, that was a sign that we had to scramble to get anything up on the site, as the game drought meant we had nothing to cover. Instead, I used this time to just maintain the site with random news, then start writing Langley Shivers, from the ground up.

I struggled to get back into it, and after a few weeks, I decided that I would write three short novellas, under the moniker 'Vita Obscura Minis', and work up to the main novel.

And so, 'The Mysterious Seamstress and a Parking Ticket', the first mini story in the Langley Shivers series was written and later published in 2012.

I was rather happy with it, and it was rated 4.5 out of 5 by Lilisoft books, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I had started writing the second book, 'The Ironically Bitter Tue if the Jazz Man' almost straight away, and, managed to get it finished towards the end of the year, and it was then published just in
time for Christmas.

Tech Beever, by this point, had come to an end, and we shut up shop, threw away the key, and set fire to any evidence that it ever existed, but rather than use the time to write, I took a break from writing for a while, including Langley.

Myself and former Tech Beever editor Dan, then started up Podcast vs Player, and whilst in the same industry as Tech Beever, PvP was a completely different beast altogether. For starters, we could do (and still do) whatever we liked, as this was something we started for us, no one else. It also meant, that I could spend my time between my personal projects, like writing, doing art etc, whilst also creating content for PvP. Plus, we had the added bonus of already having contacts in the business, result!

Anyway, after a good few years, it brings us to today. I've finished the draft of the third book, and began working on the final version, I've been working on designs for the cover (and promo art), and got a pretty good feeling about it! However, there's a very good chance this will not be part of the 'Vita Obscura Minis' series, and this will be a full novel, or at least, alot longer than the other two.

When I'm writing, I tend to plan out chapters, by imagining what's happening, as if it's a movie. So I can see the scene, the characters, the lighting, everything. Then, I just start writing based on what's in my head. It's not an ideal writing style, but I find it to be very useful not just for the book, but how I'm going to do any artwork for the promotional material.

The ending is always something that I plan out first, but always, always, always change before I actually get there, but I use the original concept as a rough idea of where I want it to go.

Again, this isn't an ideal writing style, so I'd most certainly urge everybody to stear clear of it.

I use Google Drive to do my writing, as I always have access to it, from my computer, from my tablet, my phone, pretty much anywhere with internet and access to a browser. I also use the offline mode on my phone, and once connected to the internet, it'll sync all my progress, so I can write anywhere.

Publisher wise, again, the book will be printed by Blurb Publishing, and (hopefully) like the others it'll be also available digitally on Amazon and Apple iBooks.

Also, for the first time, Langley Shivers will be co-published by Broken Pony Books, so that's rather exciting!

Author, Artist, Presenter/Host for Podcast vs Player, Video Editor, Graphic Designer.

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Contact Me
Callum Povey
United Kingdom