From Idea to Page|Nick Bryan Guest Post

December 2, 2015

I’m thrilled to be sharing a guest post Nick Bryan has kindly written for me. I hosted Nick Bryan on a Hobson & Choi book tour, and even though I haven’t gotten round to starting the series yet,but I love the premise for The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf (Goodreads Link) and I cannot wait to delve into the series, which seems like it will be witty and full of dark humour. (Hello me in book form…)from idea to page florian klauer

How To Write A Hobson & Choi Book In 50 Easy Steps

I’ve now written three separate books in the Hobson & Choi series, focusing on mismatched detectives John Hobson and Angelina Choi and their attempts to solve crimes for a living in a post-modern satirical-yet-grim London where some kind of corruption can be found literally everywhere.

After three full run-throughs and a decent start at a fourth, I’ve got some kind of a routine on writing these books, so if anyone wants to know how to write their very own H&C novel (or ‘fanfiction’ to give it the technically correct term), here is a easy-to-follow list, which could also double as some kind of Choose Your Own Adventure if you like that sort of thing…

  1. Leave house, go about your business. Try to go about your business in an area of London where you haven’t yet set a book, but don’t worry, you can always just lie and say it happened in a new place.
  2. Keep going until something annoys you. This could be a huge crowd at a shopping centre, an angry dog or, best of all, an annoying phone call/email from a recruitment agency, thus meaning you didn’t really even have to leave the house.
  3. Go and have a drink.
  4. Repeat #3.
  5. Imagine how the observation from #2 could be part of a massive conspiracy that somehow makes money or produces some other benefit. (If you struggle to get into this mindset, there are YouTube channels that might help.)
  6. Repeat #3.
  7. Write a plan or enormous diagram attempting to make your criminal enterprise seem at least vaguely plausible.
  8. Leave it for a few days, wait until sober.
  9. Rewrite your plan so it looks kinda-slightly-plausible.
  10. Try to imagine how someone involved in this plan might actually feel. Repeat #3 if necessary.
  11. If you can’t manage #10, your idea was too OTT. Start again from #1.
  12. Work out the angle at which the person from #10 might come in contact with Hobson and Choi and how investigating it might affect them.
  13. Go and check the last novel to remember where the ongoing character subplots were and what you intended to do next.
  14. Combine #12 and #13 until the two strands intersect coherently with each other. Use a hammer if you have to.
  15. Repeat #14 and #3 until you have the start of an outline.
  16. Find a way to end the book that resolves #12 and makes #13 much worse for everyone. (Or will make it much worse for them in a future book.)
  17. Sit down to start writing the book.
  18. Expect #16 to change several times during the course of the first draft. Repeat #3 when this happens.
  19. #12 and #13 will probably change at least a couple of times too. Repeat #15 if necessary.
  20. Finish first draft. Repeat #3 for a month or so and then return to it.
  21. Book cover designer.
  22. Read all the way through, noting where it stops making sense.
  23. Rewrite all scenes, adding jokes and consistency.
  24. Add Markus the dog back into all the scenes where you forgot he existed.
  25. Read the whole thing out-loud to make the phrasing less clunky. Repeat #3 whenever the boredom starts to physically hurt.
  26. Send to your editor.
  27. Spend a month repeating #1, #2 and #3 for next Hobson & Choi book or working on something else.
  28. Brief cover designer by answering many questions about the book and your preferences. Worry that you have to make up the answer to many of these on the spot.
  29. Get book back from editor. Read notes. Feel sad. Repeat #3.
  30. Re-read notes, write lists of necessary changes, up to and including rewriting the entire ending.
  31. Repeat #23 and #24.
  32. Repeat #22, #23, #24 and #25.
  33. Shake self awake.
  34. Send to proofreader.
  35. Repeat #27.
  36. Get book back. Make suggested changes, which hopefully won’t be too awful.
  37. Receive cover proofs from designer. Give feedback.
  38. Repeat #37 until cover perfect.
  39. Become excited, post pictures on internet, repeat #3.
  40. Convert book into HTML for ebook formats. This isn’t as bad as it sounds.
  41. Put book into print layout, including elimination of all possible widows and orphans. This is far worse than it sounds. Repeat #3 as needed.
  42. Order proof of print book.
  43. Read over ebook for annoying HTML formatting errors.
  44. Get print proof back.
  45. Repeat #39.
  46. Repeat #22, with added joy and attention because this is hopefully the last time. Focus on print formatting problems and final niggling typos.
  47. Repeat #36, with annoying extra stage of needing to make changes in several different files.
  48. Submit final text to various online stores.
  49. Promote on internet.
  50. Repeat #3.

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