The other day when trying to do my elevator pitch at a pub to an ex-colleague’s colleague explaining just how amazing The Gates of Vienna was and how I was redesigning experiencing fiction and all that, upon questioning I realised that its been two years. Two long, arduous, painful, torrid, sleepless, meandering, listless years.
I like to excuse myself for this by saying that I only work on this thing one day a week whilst I spend the rest of the time saving the British government and I had another kid. Whilst this is true, its taking a long time because this is new.
I have no idea what I’m doing. There is no manual for this sort of thing. I wish there was. I’ve already gone down the rabbit hole of trying to find one. So The Gates of Vienna is a book – sort of. I went and read a load of books about how you write a book. Not actually that helpful. Its fiction though, so then I go and read books about writing fiction. Even less helpful. But it’s a fictional book that lives on your phone. Oh wait there is no book for that. There’s a lot of white papers and academic things for that, but again not incredibly helpful. It’s a fictional book that lives on your phone that is also a comedy about a 17th century siege. There for sure isn’t any book out there about how to do that.
So yes, a long time. I’ve written a lot, some 27,000 words, which I’m now rewriting and working with an editor on. I’ve designed and redesigned the thing about a million times. Somewhere in there I realised that it is essentially not just an app and a new-ish way of reading, but is a new way of publishing as well where there just might be a chance to work with publishers and other authors, so I went and started building a whole backend to it as well.
Its been a struggle to say the least, but I’m still at it which means that I’m either insane for still trying to do this or it just needs to be done and there’s a story that needs telling in a new way. I’m hoping its the latter. More than anything its been about having the opportunity to learn and develop a new way of doing something by actually going and doing that something. Also, doesn’t hurt to be able to do a bit of that from 60km from where one of my characters came from.