Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Invisible Man

Something occurred to me about The Doomsday Testament recently that gives me a lot of satisfaction as a writer, but that I hadn't realised when I was writing it. There's not a single line of physical description for one of the main characters.

He's not tall or short, fat or thin. His nose isn't blunt or long or sharp. His eyes never twinkle and they have no colour. He exists, but only in the reader's imagination.

It wasn't a conscious decision on my part, but it wasn't a mistake either. It's just that I was so comfortable in the character himself that I never needed to flesh him out. What he is, he is through his thoughts and his feelings, and what other people think, say about or see in him. We believe we know him, because when we first meet him he's part of a certain type of group, but singled out from it because he doesn't quite belong. I'd always wanted him to be an enigma, but I didn't realise just how successful I'd been.

Doomsday and Defender of Rome are off to a great start. They've both had very good early reviews. The hardback of Defender is doing well on Amazon and Doomsday sold around 2,700 copies in the first week, which is impressive for a debut novel by an unknown writer, as James Douglas is. To give it some perspective, if they'd been hardback sales the novel would be sitting at about No. 5 in the UK sales charts. How much of that is down to the tremendous marketing effort by Transworld and how much to my Heath Robinson  campaign on Facebook and Twitter, I don't know, but a huge thanks to everyone for their support.

This week I'll be giving the first draft of Avenger of Rome a polish before it goes off to my publisher, then it's on to The Isis Covenant and another hair-raising adventure for Jamie Saintclair.


Debbie said...

Saw Doomsday on the shelves at Tesco yesterday - top shelf next to Russell Brand. Keeping dodgy company there! I did not buy it but that's only because I'm saving my book buying until I head off on holiday two weeks today. Promise I'll be adding to the sales figures then xxx

Doug said...

Cheers Debbie, nice to know it's in prime position and I hope you enjoy it when you do get a chance to read it. Where you off to?

Companion Wulf said...

It's funny how that sometimes happens, but it can be a good thing not to add too many descriptions, as readers get a real sense of the characters and personalities through speech and actions alone. Gives it that much more dimension.

I too saw Doomsday on the shelves the other day. Unfortunately I was just shy of being able to purchase it. But I think I'll be buying Defender of Rome first since I like reading them in order.

Congrats on the sales, Doug. Hoping that I'll be "up there" one day. I'm about a quarter way through my own novel, Ars Mechanicum: Legacy, but it's been hardgoing.

Doug said...

It's sometimes like that Wulf. Avenger of Rome went like a train for a while, but I had about a month where I just couldn't get a handle on where to go next. I think the slightly dull, linking passages that might never even make the book sap your energy. When I got past that and into the final quarter I was back on track

Guy Saville said...

Great to hear DOOMSDAY has got off to a flying start, Doug!

Gabriele C. said...

Doug, did you get my email?

Doug said...

Hi Gabriele, the last one I got was on August 24, the one with your name and address, and I thought I'd sent a reply a couple of days later, but I can't find any record of it.
The book was sent about a week ago, so you should have it by now.
Let me know if there's a problem


Gabriele C. said...

Doug, the book arrived today. The reply mail never did, but Yahoo had been throwing hissy fits last week. It probably ate some mails.