The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:13 am

I've begun the revision. I'm up to the point where I may need to start substantially altering things. I've also corrected some continuity errors and changed or added words.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:35 pm

Well, I'm well past the point I was having trouble with, and am up to 68K words. Hopefully, I can get this done before long. I want to make at least 90K words.

While I'm not going to spoil anything specific about my book, I'm soon to write a 'heartwarming' family reunion. Ah, who am I kidding? It may be a family reunion, but it is far from heartwarming... :twisted:
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:59 pm

Wouldn't expect anything less from our fave pet misantrhope... :P

You're well on target for the shorter word limit (80K is it?) so you should make that target easily. In other news I'm wondering whether I can justify my 2 half-finished chapters shy of completion pot-boiler as an alternative Earth fictional work - 'cos it sure ain't fantasy or sci-fi of any description... :shifty: Will have to ask my editor wot she finks when she gets back from celebrating her silver wedding anniversary next month :lol:
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:50 pm

Well, JVQ, have you read the actual winning entries from the last competition? Apocalypse Cow is pointed out by Terry Pratchett as not so much being down another trouser leg of time as just teetering on the crotch of the trousers of time (lovely metaphor :text-nocomment: ). And Half-Sick of Shadows waits until much later in the book to spring its alternate universe twist.

The point is to make an alternate history, either by relatively normal means (like, say, if Lee Harvey Oswald turned out to be a worse shot than he was IRL), or by more fantastical means, but keeping within the bounds of realistic physics. I opted for the latter for all of my attempts for the TP Prize, as I find it hard (and f***ing boring) to write something so mundane as an alternate history (or indeed any work) without something fantastic to spice it up. I've been spoiled by too much science fiction and fantasy. :P

So as long as your story has some significant difference to the world we know, even if it isn't fantastic, and you can justify it as being due to an alternate history, then go for it. And may the best writer win. :)

My original works for the TP Prize were inspired, as I mentioned, by the Quatermass serials of the 1950s. While this current story has no relation to the Quatermass serials, I used a lot of characters and story concepts from those story attempts. Never waste anything. Even when I get frustrated at the lack of progress, I still keep my old drafts. Why? It'll help when writing the new one to have some scenes you kept in mind.

And as for editors, mine is ready, my book isn't. I will have to do more than 80K words (yes, that's the lower word limit). I just think that 90K or just over is probably what the story needs to end naturally. But once I am, I have an editor to look at it. Hopefully, I'll get it finished in time for her to look over it and tell me if anything needs fixin'.

The 'heartwarming' ( :lol: ) family reunion went well. It's one of the better parts in the book, as I managed to avoid and/or poke fun of the cliches that happen in scenes like that. And, of course, it ends, if not badly, then with at least one of the two people involved in imminent danger. But there's another coming up later that's a bit more standard, a bit more tugging-at-heart-strings emotional.

The 'heartwarming' family reunion was inspired by the sardonic line given by Dante in this scene from Devil May Cry 3.

I've lived for over 2000 years, and not all of them were good ones. I've made many mistakes. And it's about time I did something about that.

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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:16 pm

Well alternate is as alternate does :lol: Mine's playing with recent history, international political conscience and idealism with some cerebral/emotional/social twisting based around genocide and post-traumatic stress disorder... - yes, it's a very dark human tragi-comedy :P

With a little bit of African myth and folklore thrown into the mix along with some hoopy environmental medicinal idiosyncracies. I may use some of this for the synopsis :shifty: Anyway - I think I'll go for it if only because it's that or start a long and depressing search for a literary agent, OR finding the courage to go for the self-publish route (if 50 Shades can do it :evil: ).

As for the best writer - well there were two winners for the first competition so who knows ;)
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Margi » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:59 pm

I think I'd better get mine out and get that polish rag going. I've just realised it's nearly November and I'm still scared of re-opening it.

Oh! How to sort the mess out and make it all make sense! :think: :?: :?
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:28 pm

Little bit of stress/pressure can work wonders at times Margi ;) But I hear you - it's hard to get back into writing if you've had an extended break or had some insuperable hiatus in the creative stream of consciousness (I had to get some research finished for a crucial section of the story before I could write it :roll: ).

Best thing I've found is to do a little bit of planning, and a little bit of re-reading to get yourself 'back there' for that scene or mindset where you left it and then really just sit down and get down to writing again instead of thinking about writing? :? Easy said I know, but even if you can only do a few dozen words it's a start and maybe the trickle will gain strength and the flow will come back. Good luck with it anyway :)
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:10 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Well alternate is as alternate does :lol: Mine's playing with recent history, international political conscience and idealism with some cerebral/emotional/social twisting based around genocide and post-traumatic stress disorder... - yes, it's a very dark human tragi-comedy :P

With a little bit of African myth and folklore thrown into the mix along with some hoopy environmental medicinal idiosyncracies. I may use some of this for the synopsis :shifty:


Jesus H Christ in a bucket, that's spooky! :shock: Save for the African myth bit and the tragicomedy (mine is more of a straightforward drama, or even melodrama), and maybe the PTSD (though there is a character in my book who could be said to be suffering from it), you could have been describing MY book in extremely vague terms. Of course, I've been looking at things from different angles, I am sure: the Holocaust looms over the backstory of my book, and I use Greek rather than African myth as a basis for the...difference. And the history, well, it's set as the Sixties stop swinging.

If mine could be said to be about anything, it's about being human, and the prejudices from being different. It's a major theme in my work so far (including my first completed novel, as well as the novel I tried to write for the TP Prize last time). Actually, it is, literally, about pride and prejudice, albeit without the romance. Well, save for a subtle one that I think will only pay off at the very end.

Ah, never mind. We're only describing our respective novels in very vague terms. I'm sure they're very very different. :)

Jan Van Quirm wrote:As for the best writer - well there were two winners for the first competition so who knows ;)


Who knows? :think: And in any case, the terms and conditions state that even if you don't win, Transworld may offer you a publishing contract anyway. The first prize is a guarantee of publishing, along with a 20K pound advance.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Margi » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:48 am

Maybe a good example of an alternate world/history can be found in Kazuo Ishiguro's book Never Let Me Go. The book that is, I don't know about the film because I was afraid to watch it as they advertised it as a romance and the book absolutely is not that. I was worried that I might rant if it focussed too much on the romance side. It is macabre and unlike most stories on the same subject, does not resolve the status quo at the end and all end happily ever after. I'm being very careful here because if you haven't read it, a spoiler would ruin it, most of the power in the book is in not knowing until some way in just what is going on.

Well worth reading.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:54 pm

Quatermass wrote:Jesus H Christ in a bucket, that's spooky! :shock: Save for the African myth bit and the tragicomedy (mine is more of a straightforward drama, or even melodrama), and maybe the PTSD (though there is a character in my book who could be said to be suffering from it), you could have been describing MY book in extremely vague terms. Of course, I've been looking at things from different angles, I am sure: the Holocaust looms over the backstory of my book, and I use Greek rather than African myth as a basis for the...difference. And the history, well, it's set as the Sixties stop swinging.

If mine could be said to be about anything, it's about being human, and the prejudices from being different. It's a major theme in my work so far (including my first completed novel, as well as the novel I tried to write for the TP Prize last time). Actually, it is, literally, about pride and prejudice, albeit without the romance. Well, save for a subtle one that I think will only pay off at the very end.

Well I think there'll be enough differences if only 'cos mine's all set very firmly in Africa and mainly the mid-1990s onwards. ;) Also the subject matter's African-themed to the hilt and concentrates on associated subject matters including things like malaria & AIDS and socio-gender politics/mores.

Really there's only one and a fraction of the characters (probably the obvious one) who can be described as wholly tragic - it's not a v. g. survival trait if taken to extremes after all, but the comedy's mainly convo-gagging too as survival is also a serious matter although humour is, I firmly believe, a necessary factor in that without making life a total joke... :P

As for being human - any novel that neglects that is doomed to starve of de-oxygenated reader involvement... ;)
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:57 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
Quatermass wrote:Jesus H Christ in a bucket, that's spooky! :shock: Save for the African myth bit and the tragicomedy (mine is more of a straightforward drama, or even melodrama), and maybe the PTSD (though there is a character in my book who could be said to be suffering from it), you could have been describing MY book in extremely vague terms. Of course, I've been looking at things from different angles, I am sure: the Holocaust looms over the backstory of my book, and I use Greek rather than African myth as a basis for the...difference. And the history, well, it's set as the Sixties stop swinging.

If mine could be said to be about anything, it's about being human, and the prejudices from being different. It's a major theme in my work so far (including my first completed novel, as well as the novel I tried to write for the TP Prize last time). Actually, it is, literally, about pride and prejudice, albeit without the romance. Well, save for a subtle one that I think will only pay off at the very end.

Well I think there'll be enough differences if only 'cos mine's all set very firmly in Africa and mainly the mid-1990s onwards. ;) Also the subject matter's African-themed to the hilt and concentrates on associated subject matters including things like malaria & AIDS and socio-gender politics/mores.

Really there's only one and a fraction of the characters (probably the obvious one) who can be described as wholly tragic - it's not a v. g. survival trait if taken to extremes after all, but the comedy's mainly convo-gagging too as survival is also a serious matter although humour is, I firmly believe, a necessary factor in that without making life a total joke... :P

As for being human - any novel that neglects that is doomed to starve of de-oxygenated reader involvement... ;)


Yeah, should be more than enough differences. Plus, my book is probably somewhat less cerebral.

Well, I meant 'being human' slightly more literally than figuratively. What that means? You'll see.

Oh well, as I said before, may the best writer win. :) Seriously, I dunno how much the quality of my writing matches up to the rest of the contestants. All that I know that it has taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get this book together.

I'm over 76K words. The end may not be in sight, but it's getting there. I'm about to write in a significant character's death. :twisted: Oh, I am evil.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:28 pm

Quatermass wrote:Oh well, as I said before, may the best writer win. :) Seriously, I dunno how much the quality of my writing matches up to the rest of the contestants. All that I know that it has taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get this book together.

I'm over 76K words. The end may not be in sight, but it's getting there. I'm about to write in a significant character's death. :twisted: Oh, I am evil.

Then you really don't need to worry or mitigate over this Q - the only thing that matters is that you obviously care passionately about your work and that'll come through massively and make up for any shortcomings in 'the telling' as my other literary hero Tolkien used to say ;) I'm sure anyway that your writing style and ability is very good indeed which all bodes for a story that'll stand out against the rest. :ugeek: :D
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:00 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
Quatermass wrote:Oh well, as I said before, may the best writer win. :) Seriously, I dunno how much the quality of my writing matches up to the rest of the contestants. All that I know that it has taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get this book together.

I'm over 76K words. The end may not be in sight, but it's getting there. I'm about to write in a significant character's death. :twisted: Oh, I am evil.

Then you really don't need to worry or mitigate over this Q - the only thing that matters is that you obviously care passionately about your work and that'll come through massively and make up for any shortcomings in 'the telling' as my other literary hero Tolkien used to say ;) I'm sure anyway that your writing style and ability is very good indeed which all bodes for a story that'll stand out against the rest. :ugeek: :D


Yeah, but I think my writing ability takes a little too much after Terrance Dicks'. After all, his Doctor Who novelisations were what I mostly read as a kid, and he is famous for his beige prose. :|

Thanks for the encouragement anyway. :) I just got over the 79K mark. I'm not finished at all yet, but I will be soon. Maybe even before the end of October. Another five or six chapters at least.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:51 pm

:clap: Well done with the word count - a comfort zone will help take some of the pressure off as well ;)

Never forget that the Universe is BEIGE (according to QI researchers anyWho... :P ) and Terry's enough of a fan still to want to emulate his own role-models after all ;)
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:43 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote::clap: Well done with the word count - a comfort zone will help take some of the pressure off as well ;)

Never forget that the Universe is BEIGE (according to QI researchers anyWho... :P ) and Terry's enough of a fan still to want to emulate his own role-models after all ;)


I intend to break 80K words today (I've only a few hundred words to go to do so), but I'm still not quite at the end. At least 10K words, and more likely over that.

:lol: Is the beige universe due to entropy? According to Doctor Who, that's green!

But seriously, it's less of a conscious emulation and more of my standard writing style. Then again, if beige prose was good enough for Hemingway, it was good enough for me. :P
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