Save the Cat!

With New Dawn doing its thing, it’s time to turn my attention to what’s next. For every book I’ve written so far, I’ve set myself a goal for improvement over the previous: with Noah’s Ark it was simply to write a whole book; with Vessel, it was to try and improve on scene setting and description; New Dawn was all about character building. Although far from perfect, I feel I’ve achieved—at the very least—an improvement in those areas, but there’s been one aspect that’s plagued my development up to now, and that’s that I’ve been flying blind.

Having an experienced and knowledgable tutor, in comparison to self-learning, is so much better it’s almost incomparable. Having someone to guide you, to tell you when you’re doing the right thing or not, to point out what needs to be improved and what’s working well—it’s amazing. The speed of learning goes into hyperdrive, and gone(ish) are the pitfalls of self doubt and worry.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been taken on by an agent. He’s given me a lot of feedback on my previous work, and given me guidance for what I need to work on going forward, and that leads me to the title of this week’s post: Save the Cat!

Save the Cat! is a screenwriting book that my agent (saying that never gets old!) has recommended to me to develop the next part of my writer’s repertoire: plot. I was already aware that a story is broken down into three acts, had a vague idea of certain ‘things’ that tended to happen at different points, but it was all guesswork really. So I was asked to read Save the Cat!

Save the Cat! dismantles every Hollywood blockbuster and indie cult classic into 15 separate sections, called beats. It’s as simple as that. It’s easy to dismiss the idea as being restrictive, smothering creativity or whatever, but that’s far from the truth. Every good story follows these beats; it’s what we’re used to, what we’ve come to expect. And that’s what I need to learn next.

It’s a really interesting book actually, with lots of great examples of how the process has been used across all sorts of famous films, with little nuggets that make you raise an eyebrow and say ‘huh’. One particular example is this: Disney Pixar’s Monster’s Inc. and Warner Bros’ The Matrix are the same film on paper. Don’t believe me? Then read the following sentence, and tell me which film I’m talking about: XXX is a film about an alternate reality where humans are harvested for energy. See? Weird, no?

With little party tricks like that aside, the book clearly and cleverly breaks down not only the key turning points in a good story’s journey, but also the subtleties that endear us to the protagonist, that make us hate the antagonist, and that keep us on the edges of our seats. If you’re a writer, it’s a must read—if you’re a general book/movie buff, it’s a fine insight into what makes the best films tick.

With all that knowledge absorbed, I’m now working my way through the ‘beat sheet’ on an idea for my next book. Hopefully it’ll be the best yet!

Yet Another Announcement!

While it’s a little too early to tell whether or not New Dawn is made of the right stuff, I would still like to thank you all for grabbing a copy—I hope it’s been worth the wait.

I’ve had a couple of positive reviews in so far (fingers crossed they stay positive!), so things are tentatively looking good. With promos dotted about over the next few weeks, I’m itching to see whether or not the book takes. Every review helps, so if you’ve left one or are planning to leave one, thank you for that as well.

Anyway, I have an announcement to make: I’ve got an agent! He’s a really great guy, and he’ll be working with me on my next project—more about that in the next few weeks—and I’m very excited about it. What does that mean for you? Hopefully, better books. And I know I keep saying it, but I want to say it again: thank you to all of you for your support over the years—I wouldn’t have got this far without it.

NEW DAWN is here!

Not everything goes to plan, and, well . . . New Dawn is now available to purchase from Amazon here!

I said it would be launched on the 16th, so I uploaded it today in the understanding that it would take a few days to clear the Amazon process—and it went live almost immediately! Oh well, it’s out there now . . .

It’s being launched at 99c/99p, so I’d be really grateful if you wouldn’t mind grabbing a copy. Even better, if you’ve enjoyed reading it on the blog, and enjoy the edited version too, I’d really appreciate a review. You can do that here. It only takes a minute.

Once again, thank you all for your immense support through this creative process. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have. So what’s next? Another exciting announcement is due to come very soon indeed . . .

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the final release version of New Dawn. Did I mention that you can buy it here for only 99c/99p? Tell your friends, family, dog, co-workers, band members, neighbours—everyone!


A Thank-You And An Announcement

It feels like an age ago when I posted the first chapter of NEW DAWN. It probably was. And now it’s finished.


I want to start this post by saying thank you to everyone who joined me on the journey from the very beginnings of NEW DAWN, for the comments, well-wishes and advice given by all of you to make NEW DAWN what it is today. As much as an experience as it was for Jake on board the Athena, it has been for me in writing it, and it wouldn’t be what it is today without all your input, so thank you.


So I guess the big news is that NEW DAWN is going to hit Amazon on the 16th of February, 2016 at a launch price of 99p/99c. With all your comments, plus assistance from a few key people here, NEW DAWN has taken shape from the first draft presented to you on this blog to the final work due to be released shortly. I think you’ll all enjoy where the story has gone—needless to say, it has changed dramatically in some parts—and I hope that it has made the experience all the more rewarding for you as readers.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey from concept to publication as much as I have, and again I want to thank you for joining me on it. When NEW DAWN appears in all its finished glory, I would be immensely grateful if you could grab a copy, leave a review, and tell your friends and family to do the same.


Once again, thank you to all of you. Between now and the launch, I’ll be posting updates about the publication process, and from there—who knows. I have a few ideas up my sleeve that I think you’ll like.


All the best,




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New Dawn—My Next Novel

Hello all! First of all I’d like to thank you for your overwhelming support of Vessel—it’s doing well thanks to your early purchases and reviews, so thank you very much.

Further to that, I’d like to show you my thanks by inviting you to read the first chapter of my next novel, New Dawn. The premise (as it stands) revolves around a planetary geologist called Jake Brooks who sets off on a long voyage to New Dawn, a planet with possible suitability for terraforming. Everything is by the book, and should go according to plan, except for a last-minute change in crew who’s not who he seems to be.

The first chapter will go live in a moment. As with Vessel, it’s a first draft with a quick proofread, so any comments, suggestions, criticisms or whatever are all welcome. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy New Dawn.

Vessel now available on Amazon

It feels like only yesterday that I wrote the prologue for Vessel, and publication has come around already. That’s right–Vessel is now available to purchase for a limited-time offer of 99c/99p. You can purchase it from Amazon here.

I want to thank everyone for their input and support throughout the journey of bringing Vessel to publication, and I hope you all enjoy the final version. If you’d like to leave a review, I’d be very grateful. Please could I ask that you post it on both and

Thank you again, and I hope you all enjoy Vessel.