What’s In A Title?

A title, along with the book cover form the first impressions of a potential reader. So to me, the title is important.

I had a working title, but that was just perfunctory. My first attempt at a title was:

Becoming Kes

Now I have changed it to:

Enhancing Kes

I’m not sure I like either of them but prefer the second title. But I think the reader might think I have written some sci-fi novel about a man being turned into a superhuman. It is definitely not that. Cockaigne does have some fantastical elements about it, but I would never classify it as sci-fi.

This then leads me back to my first title.

I am working on some book covers at the moment. I want to show you some soon and get your opinions. My biggest issue is adding the title text without it looking flat.

It’s Almost Finished

Well, I’ve finished writing my Cockaigne Chronicles novel. I’ve given it one read through and made some edits, I now want to give it a second read to catch anything I may have missed.

I’ve learnt several things in writing my first novel. (I have previously started to write a novel but never got around to finish it.) So, I approached this novel with a very loose structure, I knew where it would start and what would happen but didn’t have a fixed plan of how to get there. With no rigid plan, I allowed the story and the characters to develop in a way that felt right.

This meant that it would occasionally go in a surprising direction, some of which I think I handled quite well, others I think could have done with exploring more. But if I did that I was afraid the story would turn into a rambling mess.

What really irritates me about ‘long stories’ especially those on story sites, is that they start off well but end up an ongoing mess with the characters having no clear direction of where they are going. (And yes, that does include some of the stories on this site). As an author, you need to know the end of the story before you start.

For this reason, I have tended to write short stories or limited series. The rationale behind my Cockaigne Chronicles series was for it to be episodic, so there is no definitive beginning or end, each story is a slice of life and can be separate from each other. I’m not sure it turned out that way.

I mentioned previously that I was unsure of how to end the novel. What I wanted was an ending and not just a lure into the next book or story. I hope I have done that, but it does also form the start of the next story. That was a surprise for me. And I will start on the sequel novella next (and it will be a novella as the story isn’t sufficient enough for a full novel). That novella will be a type of ‘what happened next’ and will hopefully introduce the reader in how to start a life in Cockaigne. That will then bring us to the start of my second planned novel. It will be an entirely unrelated story but will feature some of the characters.

I looked at the sequel novella and asked myself, why don’t you just include it at the end of the novel? Well. I did consider that. But it wouldn’t really sit well with the rest of the book. The book isn’t about how the two guys get together and what happens to them, so adding that just felt to me I was in danger of carrying on the novel and it turning into a rambling piece with no clear direction.

As it stands I like the ending. The main story concludes and the secondary story is left in the air for the reader to either imagine what happens to them or to go on and read what happens.

I do not claim the novel to be perfect and I’m sure some typos will still show, although I have tried my best to catch them all, but I am quite pleased with it. As a first, I am satisfied with it but when I start on my second I will do some things very differently.

Now all I need is a title I like. I hate coming up with titles!

Beyond the Body

I wrote this story back in 2006. It is a kind of supernatural story about a guy who could ‘astral travel’. I really like this story and thought it could easily become a series, the possibilities are endless.

I wrote this specifically for bookpuppy.co.uk (a now-defunct story website). They were holding a competition and this story was one of three runners-up and I was given a 6-month subscription to the website. I also submitted some of my other stories.

It’s Now A Cockaigne Novel

Hi Folks. Just to keep you up to date, my novella is now officially a novel. It is now coming to a conclusion and so now all the self-doubt is starting to kick in. Is it good enough? Does the story make sense? Does the story grip the reader enough for them to read until the end?

I really hate this part!

I also hate endings. I think I’m crap at writing endings. This is only the second novel I’ve ever started to write. The first one was many years ago and was a sci-fi novel. I never finished it. That same self-doubt made me abandon it.

I hope to have it all wrapped up by the end of the week and then the editing starts. I have deliberately not gone back and read over what I have written so I can keep the flow and the story moving. I just hope it is worthy when I start to read it again and sort out all the bad spelling and typos from my less than accurate typing. Wish me luck!

I’m not sure how to release my novel. My current thinking is to put it on Kindle and then perhaps highlight a few of the more erotic chapters on Screeve. But I don’t want the readers of Screeve to have to pay to read it, so I may do something special for you guys so you can get hold of a copy. Tell me what you think.

If this goes well I do have another idea for a novel.

Cockaigne Update

Hi Guys, I hope you are all keeping safe in these strange times. It’s taken some adjustment, I can tell you.

I just want to give you a quick update as I haven’t posted any new stories recently. I’ve not stopped writing, in fact, I am in the middle of a novella. I am Β£20k words in at the moment. It is set in the Cockaigne Universe and a clinical trial by Cockaigne Pharma.

It’s been a different experience from writing short stories, it’s been great to take the time to set the scene and delve deeper into the characters backgrounds.

As you’d expect with anything from Cockaigne, there’s plenty of nudity and sex.

I just hope I’ve got the motivation to complete it. At the moment it is just a rough draft as I’m ploughing on to keep the flow going.

I still have a couple of instalments featuring the Dartos Family, I hope to upload them soon when I need a break from my novella.

If any of you want to add your stories to the Cockaigne Universe then send them over. I would love to read them.

Thanks for continuing to read the stories, all the Screeve authors like to know that their stories are appreciated and we all appreciate your feedback.

Eternal Enquiry

All you regular readers know that I suffer from depression and most of my vignettes are written either when I’m falling into a period or just coming out. This was written many years ago and delves into what I feel or don’t feel when under the grip of depression.

I’m getting round to putting my previous writing back on the website and I do find it strange when I re-read these vignettes. There is something familiar yet alien about them.

I’m in a good place at the moment and this just reminds me to hang on to how I am feeling right now for as long as I can.

If you know anyone that suffers from depression, please be understanding. They may continually push you away, but that is a symptom of the condition. Be there for them. Be understanding and be kind. There may be very little you can do when they are in the depths of there depression, but you can make sure you are still there when they come out of it.

YOI Cockton

YOI Cockton was the forerunner to my series YOI Cock Town. I call it a pilot for the series and was in part an experiment of mine as I had never written any featuring domination or forced sex. It had never really been a fantasy of mine, but as the story was quite well received I turned it into a series.

The eagle eyes readers will recognise the name Cockton as it is part of of the town of Cockaigne. Old Cockton was an ancient village that was subsumed into the larger town.

YOI Cockton was later renamed Cockaigne Correction Centre and expanded to house men of all ages, there is even a women’s wing. Of the four wings of ‘3C’, one is for young offenders, two for men and one for women.

I think YOI Cockton and the series YOI Cock Town were the seed that germinated into the town of Cockaigne.