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Archive for September, 2010

The Journey

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses. The appearance of Bernie Bolts Bergen has been beset with a number of problems primarily related to the workload created by my real day to day job. I could go on forever about long hours, websites (even though the book website has proven to be an absolute pain in the proverbial tonight), feeling tired etc etc, but that would be boring. Tonight’s blog is about the journey and one of the key attributes of a writer, one which many will recognise, but an attribute that I didn’t recognise until recently, that of persistence.

The journey has been a long one and even though it is a work of fiction, there are bits and pieces that informed the writing and which continue to bring a smile to my face. These personal snippets have helped create a story which has brought smiles to those who have read it. Having lived with the story for the such a long time it still surprises me that I still like it. It is that love for my own story that, has kept me going. The starting point is Bernie as a TV star and the excitement when we first saw Bernie’s TV appearance

Other memories that spring to mind, include the fun in telling stories to our granddaughter and her laughter as I told them ( I sometimes wonder if I should have taped the telling, as I’m sure that, as they found their way in to the book, some aspects were lost in translation). Other, less obvious, parts e.g. the whirlie and the three clouds are based on true stories. The book also talks about areas of Scotland that I know; I have tried to concentrate on the story giving a flavour of some of my favourite places rather than providing precise geographic descriptions, but it does capture a little bit of my homeland.  Sometimes, the smile comes from remembering things that were going on as I wrote, and more recently rewrote, different paragraphs and chapters of the book.

Bernie Bolts Bergen is a children’s story, a story about a cat which I think will appeal to children of all ages, from 2-92, but especially those ages 7-10. The pace of the story I think is right and I do believe that it will and does engage children. But, for me, the story is a personal one, it has come to signpost certain points in my life, it stirs personal memories and emotions. All of this from a simple children’s story about a kitten.

Readers of the story may not have my personal attachment, but I think this little story about the determination of a young cat will appeal. I read the story and, sure everytime I read it I can think of new changes or amendments, but I still love the story. There is a chapter in the story where it is said that having a cat around ‘ gives a place a soul’. I would like to think that my story has a bit of a soul.

The book releases this weekend. I am, through an events management company, arranging a couple of readings for October so I hope others will share my passion for what has been a long journey, a journey almost as long as the one in the book.

Yours

Rhumtetum

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Kettle Boiling and Bernie Bolts Bergen

Despite my good intentions, and against all advice about maintaining a presence through blogging, twitter and facebook, it’s almost a month now since I last blogged. The reason being a last minute, last month, radical rehaul of Bernie Bolts Bergen in order to get the book out. 

From my limited knowledge of physics, it is my understanding that the energy used to bring water to the boil is significantly greater than the energy used to heat that water. After last month’s activities, I’m convinced that this principle can be applied to the production of a book, in particular, my book.

A brief chronology of the book may help explain.

2005 – the story of Bernie Bolts Bergen is written over a period of 4-6 weeks

2005 – over the following few months, a few hours, is taken to tidy it up and float the idea to some agents, 6, if I remember correctly.  Project is set aside.

2008 – find copy of manuscript in cupboard and decide to have another look at it. Played with content while sunning myself beside a pool in Lanzarote – not that happy with it. particularly, the first chapter; put manuscript away again.

2009 – October, Rhumtetum dies and I decide to do something with the book. Over the following weeks I play with manuscript and decide, in my arrogance, that I can put it out electronically, without any further consideration, and see what happens. Which I duly did in December

2009 – December, I join Twitter, and start to gain an understanding of the world of the writer, issues, problems, etc, in a way that I had never considered before. The more people I followed, the richer the picture I gained.

2010 Jan – April.  Through this period I started to make changes to the book, the first chapter was still problematic, and the writing needed to be improved. One Saturday night, I entered one of the many rewrites of the opening page into a bloggers competition, primarily, out of curiosity.  The comments received were critical, but I got what I wanted, a range of  extremely useful points. Again, one commented that the concept behind the book was sound. Ideas of how to sort the book were now beginning to formulate. Then Coco, our gorgeous female cat, died without warning. This was followed by 2-3 weeks of inactivity.

June – decide to go ahead and publish book. Worked hard at first chapter.

July- rejig some of the writing and get three people to edit it. Still quite relaxed about whole process

August – I think it’s all done and get proof copy. To my horror I found loads of errors, some of which are unbelievably basic and obvious. No one had picked up on a spectacular error on the first page. I embarked on a major rewrite and correct,  spending on average 4 hours per night. Got trial copy of Whitesmoke and worked through the night checking the book line by line. Changed front and back cover, it took a whole night to come up with the back cover statement. All in all,I must have spent a couple of hundred hours in August, reworking the book, which must be greater than the sum of all the hours spent on the book since 2005. In the middle of all this, I received great feedback from a 7 year old reader.

To convert water into steam requires more energy than it does to heat that water to 100 degrees. To transfer a manuscript from one form to another i.e. a sellable book, I hope it will sell, requires more energy than it does to write it or at least shape it.

Cheers Rhumtetun

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