Archive for the ‘Operation Angus’ Category

I’ve finished the Operation Angus manuscript

Saturday, May 16th, 2020

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I started writing the manuscript for Operation Angus on March 27. With the Corona Virus cancelling every book-related event in my busy calendar since mid-March, I suddenly had much more writing time on my hands than I’ve ever had before. So I decided to seize the opportunity and commit all of that suddenly “found time” to writing. So 44 days and 90,627 words later on May 10, I wrote the words “The End” to close out the manuscript. It’s the fastest manuscript I’ve ever written, by a long shot. Of course, I spent about a year planning, mapping, and outlining the story and characters, yielding a 60-page bullet-point, chapter-by-chapter outline, so I could then write the manuscript in a sprint.

Since finishing it about a week ago, I’ve managed to go through the entire manuscript for the first of several passes at editing and polishing. This resulted in some trimming and some adding. Much to my editor’s chagrin, I’m more of an adder than a trimmer. But it does feel good to have taken this major step forward on the new novel. It’s not due out until next year, so I’m ahead of schedule. Now, a few trusted beta-readers are having a look at it, which might lead to some more editing. There remains lots to do. After I send it to my editor at McClelland & Stewart, the real editing begins. But for now, I’m happy.

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Guess who’s coming back?

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

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This has not been a closely-guarded secret. In fact, I’ve been mentioning it when asked at talks and readings for the last few months (back before the Corona Curse when I was still touring around). But I realized yesterday as I finished writing Chapter 1 of my eighth novel, that I’ve never formally noted it in this space. So here goes. The characters from my first two novels, The Best Laid Plans and The High Road, are returning in my next novel. That’s right, Angus McLintock, Daniel Addison, Muriel Parkinson, Lindsay Dewar, Bradley Stanton, and some new players are back in Operation Angus, the tentative title. It should be out sometime in 2021, likely the late summer or fall.

After having given nearly 1,000 book talks and readings since 2008 when The Best Laid Plans was published by McClelland & Stewart, the most common questions I field from readers are various versions of “When will you write another Angus novel?” I never closed the door on another “Angus novel” but to be honest, I never really had the intention of returning to the principled Scottish engineering professor with the unruly hair and beard. Okay, “unruly” is a profound understatement. But as the years passed and more and more readers asked about it, the idea of a third novel about Angus, his trusty sidekick Daniel Addison, and the rest of the gang began to sound more appealing. Well, now is the time.

The tentative title is Operation Angus, though that could change before publication. (After all, Albatross, the title of my last novel was an eleventh hour change just before publication.) I’d like to have “Angus” in the title to make it perfectly clear for readers that the accidental MP is back. The story is less a political satire and much more of a comic thriller. Without going into too much detail, Angus, now a Cabinet minister, and Daniel, while in London, stumble upon information about an assassination plot against the President of Russia set to unfold while he is briefly in Ottawa for a meeting with our Prime Minister. For various reasons, the intelligence is not considered credible (except by Angus and Daniel) and so the RCMP and CSIS don’t really pursue it. Angus and Daniel are left to uncover and thwart the assassination attempt pretty much on their own, supported by the quirky bunch around them. I should probably stop there.

If all goes to plan, I should have a completed manuscript ready for my editor at M&S, Bhavna Chauhan, by the end of August. Now back to Chapter 2.

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This is the simple table I use when writing my novels to help me keep track of word count and sometimes to make me feel good about my progress or daunted by what remains. Right now, it’s more of the latter.