The Long March

Just finished read of latest version, and lined up a few edits for a final version.

“Final” – ha!

The basic, embryonic concept for the Bastard Wonderland goes as far back as 1995.

Jesus.

I conceived of a scene where a knackered, rough-arsed northerner in turn-of-the-century military garb staggers across a storm blackened moor in the night. He was called Mr. Warboys, and he was looking for something? Escaping from something? He is cracked about the head by an object, and amidst much effing and blinding, looks up to see a rope rig trailing down from the ominously graceful shape of an abandoned airship drifting on the wind. Sod it, he thinks, and boards it, carried away into unspecified adventure in outlandish places.

For a long time, it was just this. I wrote a little bit more in rather tongue in cheek episodes. Warboys was attacked by a morbid beastie. He crashed, and met a stiffbacked foreigner. It pottered around, but i never finished it, never really knew what Warboys was about, what he was after and what he was running from. And yet, on and off, i kept nudging it, through through despairing teenage years and College, university, through disillusioned unemployment followed by even more disillusioned employment. I acquired a wife and children. I even had other work in proper literary genres published in real, actual print – gasp! And for a time, i was a writer of gritty contemporary fiction. But I always came back to Mr. Warboys.

In 2008 i let a friend of mine read what little coherent material i had –  then about 140 pages, a quarter of the book i’d planned at that time, different title and no ending. His feedback, and the bottles of Old Empire we drank at the time – were very encouraging, and in 2009 i really and honestly sat down and decided to do it properly, once and for all – finally, you might say – Ha!

Even with this new determination and drive, it still took two years to ‘finish’ it. And then, once its ‘finished’, it needs editing and revising. After a couple of drafts (The current worker is a revision of the third draft (although i’ve never been sure what level of editing qualifies a work as a draft), and copious research into who to submit it to and how, I began submitting in earnest around November 2011.  After a year of rejections and no-replies – i’ll list these in a future post – i feel as i’ve exhausted traditional leads.

Despite the odds, like some lunatic stalker, i’m still convinced The Bastard Wonderland is as good, if not better than a lot of the mainstream,  commercially available work that would be considered comparable in genre. If it was finished, that is. As you see, “Final” is a tenuous term where i’m concerned. But i actually think i’m there now. Or about there.

So, having achieved the fabled break during the time it was in submission, and with the knowledge that publication looms, one way or another, in 2013, it was a good time to review it. Is it finished? Is it a final? I’ll post on that later, but I’m starting to wonder if anything qualifies a work as final apart from actual irrevocable publication. The good thing about self publication is that come that tbc date in 2013, it’s going to have to be finished, nuts and all…exciting, eh?

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