Electric book boogaloo

You might have guessed I’m something of a gadget freak. Well, that’s not quite right. I don’t collect gear or spend hours reading Engadget. However, I am a fan of tech that makes my life easier. I’ve talked about the iPad before – and I’m literally counting the hours until my very own 64GB WiFi model arrives this Friday – and I’m a proponent of all things digital, be it music, or films and TV, or books.

This week I was a guest of Angry Robot books, and I took the opportunity to make a case for switching from print books to ebooks. I’ve had numerous interesting comments about this via Twitter, and my writing pal Jennifer Williams has posted a response on her own blog. I hope you’ll take the time to read both my take and hers, and join the debate!

Writing wise, I’m finally – FINALLY – back on track with Ludmila, My Love. At 2,000 words a day, I should be done in about three weeks, which means I can let that one ferment in the draw and get straight into The Gospel of the Godless Stars, the horror Western I’m co-writing with Kate Sherrod.

This is my first collaboration, but so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the process. We’re currently working out the plot and synopsis, and have been swapping and expanding scene chronologies back and forth. I must admit, I was nervous at the start of all this – having spent a few days nutting out some plot points, what if Kate hated them? What if Kate’s sections completely turned my precious ideas upside down and inside out?

But of course, it’s not my story. Nor is it her story. It’s our story. We both realise and understand this, and actually it results in a much freer creative experience. Kate even wrote a short prologue at the same time as I was working on mine – and having seen hers, it’s not only a terrific piece of writing, it actually leads almost directly into my own. I suspect this project will go well.

With all this writing work on, one thing that will hopefully keep the pressure up is the brand new Manchester SpecFic Writing Group, which met for the first time a couple of weeks ago at the MadLab in central Manchester. All are welcome, and our next meeting is June 2nd, where we will hopefully have some critiques to give out. I just need to give the first chapter of Empire State another going over before I drop it into our shared folder.

Nervous? You bet. We’re using Turkey City rules. But I’m hoping it’s going to be a valuable experience. I’ll keep you posted.

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  • I read your guest blog over at Angry Robot and was very impressed, it was a compelling argument. I'm also pro technology and pro advancement – like you I have put all of my CD's onto a hard drive which has now become my lovely space-saving music system. However once I get round to replacing my record player I will still wish to hear my vinyl as they are.

    I have to admit that like Jennifer, despite nodding in agreement to the argument, I knew for a fact that I am very unlikely to purchase one myself. It is not so much that I share Jennifer's nostagia for all things paper – smell and touch etc. – more that I do not enjoy the process of reading from a screen. For me it's bad enough that I have to sit at my desk most of the day writing onto the screen and in fact I still write an awful lot of notes on paper. If people send me work to read that's over 10 pages I will always have to print it out.

    I agree that a lightweight ebook is tempting for journeys and space saving, when taking walks on the heath I often speak into my iPhone's dictaphone or make notes on it's notepad, but for me, when it comes to reading, I still prefer the non-glare of the printed page.