New Books (August-September)

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Featuring: Kate Atkinson, Lea Carpenter, Michael Chabon, Gerrard Cowan, Seth Dickinson, Eric Jay Dolin, K. A. Doore, Gardner Dozois, Sergiy Dyachenko, Maryna Shyrshova-Dyachenko, Robert Galbraith, Christopher Goffard, Anne Griffin, Brian Hart, Maria Hummel, Joe Ide, Jill Lepore, David Mack, Peter McLean, Kelsey Miller, Richard Morgan, Ian S. Port, David Priess, Christopher Priest, Philip Pullman, Steven Savile, Jeremy C. Shipp, Erin Somers, Gerry Spence

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Guest Post: “On Writing and Completing a Trilogy” by Gerrard Cowan

CowanG-AuthorPic2I’ve started writing the third book in my fantasy trilogy, and it is a very strange experience.

Book One was obviously a difficult process. It took years – four, to be precise, from the germination of the idea to the day I cried ‘enough is enough’ and began sending it to agents. In fairness, I was only properly working at it for the final two of those four years, as it took me a while to get into the rhythm. Still, it was with me for quite a long time.

When you write the first part of a trilogy you have a certain amount of scope. It’s liberating, really. Of course, you need to plan out the overall story, and know how you’re going to get to where you’re going. But you can allow certain threads to dangle.  Continue reading

New Books! (August)

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Featuring: Matthew de Abaitua, Stephen Aryan, Bradley Beaulieu, Ben Bova, Lila Bowen, Zen Cho, Robert DeFranco, Seth Dickinson, Tom Doyle, Peter Facinelli, Charlie Fletcher, Vince Flynn, Ryan Gattis, Derek Haas, Sam Hawken, Andrew Michael Hurley, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rajan Khanna, Andrew Klavan, Julia Knight, Mike Lawson, Alison Littlewood, Barry Lyga, Ian McDonald, Kyle Mills, Seth Patrick, T.R. Richmond, Adam Roberts, Lilith Saintcrow, Kieran Shea, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, David de Sola, Gav Thorpe, Ben Tripp, Anna Waterhouse, Andy Weir, Ian Winwood, Max Wirestone Continue reading

Guest Post: “Building a World on One Idea” by Gerrard Cowan

CowanG-AuthorPicI was digging through ancient emails the other day when I came across an old plan for my novel, The Machinery. After admonishing myself for never cleaning my inbox, I decided to take a look and was struck by how different it was from the finished book. In fact, you would be hard pushed to recognise it as the same story.

This is probably true of many novels, but in my case, it stemmed from how the story developed. In the past, when I’ve had an idea for a book, I would come up with the narrative thrust, the main characters, the general setting. I’d have a hazy picture of what was going to happen and where it would take place. With The Machinery, it was different: all I had was the premise of the novel, and I had to build from there.

The conceit of The Machinery is based on the existence of an omnipotent machine, which chooses the leaders of society. They could be anyone at all, adult or child: the Machinery picks them as they are the best suited to their particular roles. There’s only one problem: it seems as if the machine is breaking. Continue reading