What's new octo-pussycat

What’s new Octo-pussycat?

Time off work arrives with a promise of being able to sleep in, lazily arranging one’s day to fit in desires rather than necessities. That promise quickly evaporates as Life, that indomitable force, struts into the room, shakes the bed, bangs some pots and pans and saunters back out trailing a curled finger. Yeah, duty calls. Duty is always calling.

That’s alright, though. Duty and me, we’re on talking terms. There’s things what need fixing. Things what need throwing out. Things what need making. And once those things are out of the way, I can spend the discretionary time on other, more fun, activities. Like going to the beach to dig channels between rock-pools. Like walking up and down the market stalls to view the wares and pay exorbitant prices for jam and mustard (Mind you, it’s very good jam and very good mustard). Like admiring the cloud formations and brilliant sunsets that are arranged for us to ponder over, if only we take the time to look up.

And, of course, when it’s dark and all the sunsets have gone to bed, it’s time to crack on with book-work. With Nadderwater Ghost published, I have moved my attention back to our favourite octopus detective, Tedrick Gritswell in what will be the final installment of the series. At least, it will wrap up the Quadrilogy (or is that a Tetralogy?) in a neat package and slap a red bow on it. Does that mean there won’t be any more adventures of Tedrick after this one? I cannot guarantee that one way or the other. All I can say is that this book will complete Tedrick’s arc from a down-and-out Sand Sifter to Borobo Reef’s top Detective.

You might think this is a simple task. After all, I’ve had the plan for this book for quite some time. Just a matter of putting it into words, right? I thought so too, until I started writing it. You wouldn’t believe it, but one of the first things I got hung up on was the title. What should it be called? Should it be a pun or an idiom, or should it be more like a ‘Biggles’ title? I shortlisted about five titles and, to be honest, I’m still ruminating over them. Then there’s the problem of fitting all the bits in. There are characters that need to have their day in court. They’ve developed and, really, shouldn’t be left out of the narrative. At the same time, I can’t just throw them in there just because. It would jar the reader.

Of course, there’s the climax, the big stunning moment when everything comes to a head. If the entire series leads to a fizzer, I’ll be most displeased. And by that I mean I’ll be moping around the house for a year. We can’t have that. This is where I really need to warn myself about missed opportunities. I’ll prattle on about those in the next post. For now, just know that it’s ‘Steady as she goes’ for me, working away at the skeleton of the first draft. I’m about, what, 70% through at a guess, so that’s a positive thing, but I know already that there are a few things I need to cut out, and a few other things I want to add in.

Eh? You want a deadline? Er, yeah. Good point. <mental_maths/> OK, how about this: April the 30th. That will give me enough time to first, second, third and fourth if necessary, plus make a front cover and, of course, publish to ebook, softcover and audio. I’ll need to tee up with Mister Gorman, too. But, how about that? Three months, end of April, and you’ll have an octopus coming your way.

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