Just doing the 3rd draft of POINT. How I work (mostly) is this:

1) Plough through a first draft without looking back.

2) Do a total rewrite for the second draft. By this I mean that I avoid amending existing text. Instead, I have a demarcation line between 2nd and 1st draft: as I rewrite a passage (mostly without reading the older version) I delete the older version.

3) Polish/tighten up as a 3rd draft. This time I do edit existing text.

4) Print it out, read it aloud, and make corrections on the hardcopy before changing it on the laptop to create a 4th draft.

5) Email 4th draft to anxious publisher. (Deadline? What deadline?)

Over the past year and a half, the little twist has been that I've been working on 2 books at once (ABSORPTION and EDGE were interleaved in writing time; now it's TRANSMISSION and POINT).

Depending on how much I outlined the book before writing it (for the purpose of getting a publishing contract beforehand) the first draft can either be long and meandering or immense and weaving drunkenly across the storyscape. I've twice written books whose 1st draft was nearly double the length of the printed book - ABSORPTION and PARADOX. (That's tended to mean an extra draft, so that the 3rd draft is the big rewrite.)

Enough of writing. How about some politics?

EDGE and POINT are near-future novels. The two main political parties in the future UK are the LabCon party and the TechnoDemocrats. A reasonable extrapolation from our current lot? Let's hope. I'm expecting no miracles from the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, but maybe some decent measures in the current clime.

Whoda thunkit, tho', about Nick Clegg as deputy PM?

I know some people thought the political satire in PARADOX was a bit dated - I mean, who cares about aristocracy, since we don't really have one anymore, right? And yet the Liberal Democrats are the only party to believe in abolishing the House of Lords. (You might have thought the Labour party would have destroyed that institution during their past 13 years in power, but it didn't happen, did it?)

For US and other non-UK readers: you do know that the upper house in Parliament consists entirely of people who have never been voted into office, right? Imagine a US Senate with hereditary membership. (Plus new members sliding in through some covert process not open to public gaze - a retirement present for old politicos.)

Maybe I'll stop leaving the blog a politics-free zone, eh?



The builders are in their 3rd week of renovating our house. Working really fast, doing multiple rooms in parallel. New outer wall and roof (with skylights) on the kitchen (which is single-storey). Excellent group of guys, but writing with dust falling around my head wasn't working. Starbucks to the rescue. All hail the mighty coffee empire.



I'm doing that signing thing again tonight, at the lovely Forbidden Planet Megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue in London. Gotta go leave my valley shortly to catch a train. London's farther from me than it used to be.

They will have copies of ABSORPTION!!!! I received my own copies and they're gorgeous.

It's 6pm to 7 pm and Stephen Deas, Adam Roberts, Sarah Pinborough, and M.D. Lachlan will be signing their books also.

Last time I was there, a couple of months back, it was in my Thomas Blackthorne guise to sign EDGE. How schizoid can I get? On the Blackthorne front, my publishers for EDGE, Angry Robot, have gone through some changes - they've moved from being a HarperCollins imprint to a new home at Osprey. This means new publishing dates for EDGE and POINT.

In the UK, POINT will appear in February 2011. A new edition of EDGE will appear at the same time.

In the US, EDGE will appear in October this year, and POINT will appear in March 2011.

I'm hoping this will mean a bigger push for the books.

See you tonight if you can make it to Forbidden Planet!



I've a short article (within a larger report) on extra dimensions of spacetime in the current issue of Focus, the science magazine produced by the BBC. Nice graphic, too.



Along with four of my friends (two of whom I don't know), I'm signing books here on Thursday 13th May at the Forbidden Planet megastore in London. See you there!

The other writers are Stephen Deas, Adam Roberts, Sarah Pinborough, and M.D. Lachlan. It looks as if Forbidden Planet will have copies of ABSORPTION for sale (a week before the official publication date).

See you there, I hope!