G J Rutherford

Writer, Caregiver & Ever So Free With His Old Man Advice.

Month: May, 2014


How I wish there was a bar that every author had to hurdle before self-publishing. I’m not talking about elitism, or even a coherent story, I am talking about basic writing standards – spelling and grammar.


I feel the urge to shame those who’ve written an unedited novel, had a great cover done and then proceed to spam social media, knowing that slick marketing will always lead to a few sales… The same people seem to have a preloaded set of 5* reviews to mislead the public too… – That angers me more than you could know.


For five years, I’ve written every day. – You’ll not find my novels on Amazon, as I recognised the few I’ve completed were not good enough. It would have been so easy to click a button, set a price and feel my ego soar as I announced, in my best Thespian voice, “I am an author.”


But I’ve more pride than ego, and I had more patience than talent  -perhaps still do. – Over a million words I’ve written will never be seen by anyone other than my beta readers. – They were not good enough!


I follow a few writers on Twitter, some of whom advertise their work, and care deeply about standards.  – These I feel comfortable in naming: – @careypridgeon @njcrosskey @pottywhite and @Deinafurth are all authors who put immense effort into their prose. It shows.


What I am going to do in future, when I read unedited vomit, is start shaming those who are damaging the reputation of the entire industry, and I hope others will do the same.


An outpouring

It felt like any other day when I sat down to write. Perhaps my fingers danced with a little more freedom than of recent, but that’s just a retrospective observation. 


So where the hell did the monstrous word count come from? 4,400 is likely the highest single day count I’ve ever had. – And they weren’t gibbersome and inane… Well, so says the guy who wrote them.


Some time in the next two week, ‘In Search of Hell’ will be finished. It’ll weigh around 70,000 words, and will represent the very best I can write… As was suggested, I need more beta readers… I’ve a few, but I need more.  -I want to leap up and down and say ‘it’s a great story, please read it’ but every writer feels that way about their words, be it puke or masterpiece.


Oh Hell, who cares… It’s a great story, please read it… Oh dear, what’s that acrid smell? :/


It’s been a strange experience these last few days… I’ve rarely written more than 20 or 30 words without leaping from my document, pacing about or doing something else (like write a blog entry.)


But it’s funny how those words add up. – I guess this has been the closest I’ve come to stalling, but a dozen new pages have formed. It may not be my best prose, but it’s up there, and moving the story forwards. Perhaps distilling a day’s imagination into fewer words makes for better prose… – I don’t know.


What I do know is it doesn’t feel pleasant. Anxiety is a ticking clock which doesn’t wait for my next sentence. There’s too much to say, and I’m a long way into the second half of my life. Time was once a friend that whispered of summer holidays and Christmas morning, yet now it’s a swinging pendulum bearing a blade that slices another piece off my mortality.



A day of juggling

Over the years, I’ve shed many activities to concentrate more on writing…


But it’s Sunday, and there’s a grand prix on and lunch to cook, so writing takes a rare second place. It’s necessary to unfocus sometimes, but it still makes me a little anxious. – I like to see a task finished and, unlike peeling a pan of spuds or scribbling a blog entry, writing a book takes a good few months.


So yes, despite my insistence writing takes a back seat today, I’ll find a way to shuffle a little closer to the finish line.




It’s never enough. Physical or mental exhaustion claim me well before my imagination surrenders… It’s a frustration, and too much caffeine does no more than loan an hour from tomorrow, which I then have to pay back with interest.


Time passes, word count grows, and the clock ticks down. I’ve not enough hours to write all the words inside but, then again, none of us do. I wonder if the words I write will fade soon after I do. It’d be good to think otherwise, but I doubt I’ll feature as more than an anecdote or two in some relative’s conversation until, a generation passes, and it’ll be as if I never was.




Well, scary or liberating. – It suggests that perhaps nothing we do will count for anything in the long run, so we can do as we want… I know, I choose to write.


Perhaps out there, somewhere, someone will choose to read, and then I will be immortal.

Well, that went well…

Overtired, I decided an early night would see me put right… SO I went to sleep at 7:30pm…


…And woke to a new day, just after midnight. :/


What a fool I feel, but I’ve used the last hour to edit a couple of chapters, and prepare for the next one. – What’s really making me judder at the minute is I feel happy at the new words I write. Perhaps smug… – I remember the last time I felt this way, and packaged off my misshapen manuscript to London’s premier agents, and sat waiting for the phone to ring.


And waited…


…The rejection letter was met with disbelief. – Had they even read my manuscript? Looking back to those early days, I think the better question to ask would have been if I’d ever bothered to read it? Even now, I feel the urge to ring the agency and apologise, as I imagine the lot of them had to boil their eyes after viewing it.


Well anyway, I can’t use naivety as an excuse for my present smugness, so that leaves me with arrogance… – Scary, for that is something I’ve run away from for such a thing would blinker me. The arrogant are dismissive of other’s views and, as such, can grow no further. I listen. I will always listen and take advice from my peers and betters.


It’s 1.40am now, so perhaps I can try and get a couple more hours sleep…


Perhaps I learned something from this morning’s words. Rewriting ‘In Search of Hell’ has involved many re-reads of the original, and I keep leaping back to make sure I never missed anything… Today I just wrote, and the words came more readily. – Yes, the story evolved from the original, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, does it? – IF it doesn’t work, I’ve a group of readers who’ll beat me (with clichés) to within an inch of my life, and I can revert to the original version.


One other thing that was pointed out to me, and I think I’ll accept… My fantasy story was described as ‘young adult’ but my two eldest readers are 76 and 80… Perhaps a story can be both.


Whatever labels are adhered to it, the story does seem to work for a lot of people.


I’ll just do the writing part, and leave it for others to debate it. 😛


It’s been one of those days where I’ve spent more time extracting myself from one task to get on with another, rather than get much of significance done. 


All I want to do is write… write well… but it sometimes feels like it is less important than networking and marketing… – I failed to attract any new Twitter followers today… Should I panic? Do I have to hashtag my way to success, or can I not simply just write, find an agent and then get on with the sequel.  – I made the mistake of reading an excerpt from the latest novel of a good networker on Twitter… It was so monumentally bad that I thought it was a spoof link at first… For some reason, it really depressed me. – What happened to buying a book because it was good? – Dreadful prose sells because of slick marketing… Damn… Perhaps I need to reassess my priorites… 

Teeth extraction

Creating fresh words felt natural. Often, they weren’t the best, but they were always there… These last few weeks, I’ve been rewriting the story that made me fall in love with writing, and it’s hard. Creativity should be spontaneous, but the idea of regurgitating and refining words of long ago is tiring.


The words aren’t bad, but they just don’t feel fulfilling. – Perhaps I’d have been better off archiving the old version so I couldn’t refer to it, but the plot is a little too complex to risk that. – I think I just want to get beyond rewrites, and into fresh creativity, but I’ve at least another year of this…


…So the sooner I write it, and stop this procrastination, the sooner I will be finished!