This my the eleventh post. Now, according to the arbitrary rules I have set myself, I am allowed to say some things about this blog and about myself. First of all, here are some of those rules.

No introductions or statements of intent before 10 substantial posts are complete.

No complaining about the day job.

Focus on the words first.

No rash promises

I have broken all of these directives in early blog posts before. And the articles looked sad and lonely two years later when I came back to put them out of their misery. There’s nothing like making big promises in your first post to kill all hope of productivity.

Now, though, with ten posts safely submitted, maybe I can proceed with an introduction.

My name is Matt. I have written two books for publication. And rewritten them—to a total of five editions. My work has been translated into at least ten languages.

This time round, though, I’m writing fiction, and it’s much harder. For a start, the freedom is a killer. The kind of non-fiction books I write almost structure themselves. A day’s thought yields an outline for the publisher, and then you’re into research. Writing is almost a matter of stretching the best language you can craft across the gaps left by code examples.

In fiction, on the other hand, the landscape is entirely open at the start. The rules, such as they exist, are opaque.

This blog will document my attempts to formulate some rules that work for me, and then to apply them to my work.

My book exists as a disposable first draft, and I’m at the start of a marathon rewrite. At the same time I’m working to learn more about the craft of writing, to hold down a day job, and to avoid entirely alienating a long-suffering family.

I intend to record my progress, my research, any lessons I learn and the mistakes I make. At the very least the act of writing up my conclusions will help fix them in my mind, and provide a record which may be useful in the future. I have been known to make the same mistake twice.

Even if no-one reads this, the illusion that you’re out there, waiting for my next post, will at least encourage me to keep writing. If that fiction becomes real, so much the better. There’s an outside chance that other people will find something of use, or even entertaining, in these articles. I hope so.

I will cover the practical side of writing. How to manage time and avoid blocks. I will discuss key topics such as outlining, character development, and scene crafting. I’ll check in on the progress of my novel. I’ll describe and try out interesting techniques and good practice. I will review and summarize essays, articles and books. As a programmer in another life, I may even release the occasional web-based development tool (no promises, mind).

Finally, if you’re reading this close to the time of writing, you’ll notice that the surroundings are little spartan. I have used an off the peg template on a major blog site. It’s like meeting someone in a big chain motel. Everything is just fine in a distinctly mass produced identikit kind of way. This is a result of the rule Focus on the words first. I have been known to create elaborate homes for content I then never write. I’ll upgrade the site as I earn the right to do so. Thirty posts?