Archive for July, 2011

Writing update…

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Sorry for the long stretches between blog posts lately. It’s been so busy at the office and with readings, talks, and festivals that I haven’t been able to post as often as I’d like. Anyway, I thought it had been a while since I’d updated you on the status of novel #3. I think the last time I wrote about it was back on April 23rd when I announced that I’d finally started writing the manuscript. This came after spending a year or so thinking through the story and a couple of more months actually laying it out using my rather rigorous outlining process. Now, some three months later, the manuscript is coming along, although I’d hoped to be further into the novel by now. As of this past weekend, I’ve finished six of 18 chapters and am up to about 33,000 words. I’m pleased with what’s written so far, but there is still plenty of editing and polishing to do.

My outline for novel #3 is only about 30 pages long, while the outline for my last book was 65 pages long. I decided that there could be two reasons for this discrepancy. Either I’m more confident that I can write a 5,000 word chapter based on only a page of bullet points as opposed to two pages, or I really don’t know my story as intimately as I did the first two times around. I was hoping it was the former, but it turns out it’s the latter! But all is well. It just took me a bit longer to get the first third written. I know much more about the remaining two thirds of my story, so I think the rest of the manuscript should unfold more easily.

As usual, I’m getting most of my writing done on weekends as I’m still working fulltime during the week. Sometimes I”ll get a few hours in on weeknights, but not very often. My aim has tended to be to write a 5,000 word chapter over the weekend. It hasn’t always been possible, but lately I’ve managed to come close. With six chapters behind me, I now feel the gathering momentum of the manuscript and it fuels my motivation to keep it going. I’m away in British Columbia in the first week of August for book-related appearances, and then in Nova Scotia for our family vacation. I’m hoping to get a big chunk of writing done then. In any event, I’ll keep you posted as the chapters pile up. December 1st is my contractual deadline to hand over the completed manuscript to McClelland & Stewart, so I’ll be hard at it straight through the fall. I have not intention of needing or seeking an extension! Fingers crossed, at least when they’re not burning up my laptop keyboard…

The High Road cracks the top 10

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Okay, you know when I wrote in an earlier entry that I would try not to be quite so self-indulgent in my blog posts? Well, I’m still committed to that, but am requesting special dispensation to record the good news that The High Road has for the first time, cracked the BookManager Canadian Fiction Bestseller List, checking in at number eight. Undoubtedly pulled along by The Best Laid Plans, which is still basking in the Canada Reads afterglow. It’s a thrill to see both of my novels in the Top 10.

I promise a humbler writing update on novel number three shortly…

Q & A with The Mark

Monday, July 4th, 2011

I’ve been scanning The Mark ever since discovering that my friend Mark Lefebvre is a regular contributor. Last week, they called and we did a Q&A that went live this morning. We covered a fair bit of turf in the interview and I hope you find something of interest in it. My thanks to The Mark.

Coincidently, the photo they’ve used is from the 2007 launch of the original self-published edition of The Best Laid Plans in the McMaster University Books Store, graciously organized by none other than Mark Lefebvre (who writes and blogs under the name Mark Leslie).

TBLP makes Samara/Writers’ Trust Shortlist

Friday, July 1st, 2011

What a thrill. The Samara Foundation and the Writers’ Trust of Canada have joined forces to find the “Best Canadian Political Books of the Last 25 Years.” Over the last couple of months, nominations were sought from Canadians and nearly 200 books were submitted. Yesterday, a shortlist of 12 finalists was unveiled. Canadians are now invited to read the twelve books and vote for our favourite. Early in August, the winning book will be announced. Somehow, The Best Laid Plans made the cut and stands as the only novel among the twelve finalists. There are some terrific reads on the list including my friend John Duffy’s award winning book Fights of our Lives. I don’t know whether being the only work of fiction in a collection of wonderful nonficition books about politics works in TBLP’s favour, but I can tell you that it is a singular honour to be anywhere near the shortlist, let alone on it.

So, veering dangerously close to “pimping mode,” you can vote for the book of your choice here, or click on the graphic below. As always, my thanks for your support…