My first cover story!

I thought that I might give a little update on my writing as the last few weeks have been very productive ones in terms of writing.  I’m about to have an article published by a leading environmental magazine (more details when it is out) on a subject relating to water poverty in Africa.  It is something I am most thrilled about as they approached me having read my blog on the tree planting scheme in Africa I wrote last year were enthusiastic that they commission an article.  It made the cover story too or so I have been told, I can’t wait to see it!

I don’t know about you but sometimes it can be hard to finish a writing project when you have a dozen other exciting writing jobs in your head that you are desperate to get started on.   I don’t normally jump jobs midway through writing but I somehow got an idea into my head to write a history book and not just any history book but one on WW1 of all things.  So, not at all intimidating!

Typical procrastining writer

Typical procrastining writer

Well, yes and no.  It’s such an important event that I in no way, shape or form would write a historical account if I didn’t think I could do a very good one.  However, one of the reason it sounds intimidating is because so many history books and especially those relating to war are dry and full of tactics and strategies and this is certainly the case in WW1 even if the tactics and strategies are often simplified as to those mentioned below in the hilarious Blackadder series which has been criticised recently by some government ministers but which has more than a crumb of truth about it:

Blackadder Goes Fourth

The poor Tommies stuck on the front-line and the General behind them all the way… 20 miles behind them according to Blackadder

 

George:   Great Scott sir, you mean, you mean the moment’s finally arrived for us to give Harry Hun a darned good British  style thrashing, six of the best, trousers down?

Blackadder:     If you mean, “Are we all going to get killed?” Yes.
Clearly, Field Marshal Haig is about to make yet another gargantuan effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches
closer to Berlin.

Blackadder then goes to his generals office…

Blackadder: Now, would this brilliant plan involve us climbing out of our trenches and walking slowly towards the enemy sir?

Darling: How can you possibly know that, Blackadder? It’s classified information!
Blackadder: It’s the same plan that we used last time, and the seventeen times before that.

Melchett: Exactly! And that is what so brilliant about it! We will catch the watchful Hun totally off guard! Doing precisely what e have done eighteen times before is exactly the last thing they’ll expect us to do this time! There is, however, one small problem.

Blackadder: That everyone always gets slaughtered the first ten seconds.

Melchett: That’s right! And Field Marshal Haig is worried that this may be depressing the men a tad. So, he’s looking to find a way to cheer them up.

Blackadder: Well, his resignation and suicide would seem the obvious solution.

Melchett: Interesting thought. Make a note of it, Darling!

It’s understandable as it was such a huge war and it is almost impossible to know where to begin.  I’ve decided to tackle it in a totally different way and I’m not even attempting to detail all of the events on a day by day basis around the world.

Instead, I want to produce a brief and accessible history book that people can read easily and quickly and is written in a friendly way.  It’s aimed at people who aren’t that into history and know only the basics or even less of WW1 with the aim of both being all you need to know about the war but also as a taster for those who might want to go ahead and read one of those dry tactical books later on.

I decided to break the war down into headlines and themes.  It was easy enough to pick 25 themes.  The hardest part was making a start so I have picking off themes which to me are the easiest to write and so leaving the most difficult to the end.  I now only have about 8 left to go so you can probably guess I have reached the harder parts.

Whilst writing the history and themes in an accessible and easy to understand way has been relatively straight forward, it has still been hard knowing what to include and what to leave out but I think I’ve got the balance right.  Also because I want it to be a “brief guide” type of book I am able to do complete a section a day quite easily which is a good way to keep the inspiration up and get it all completed in the next few weeks.

I’m not sure how to publish this one.  Obviously I’ll go for  paperback and Kindle versions but whether to self-publish or find a publisher is something I haven’t decided.  I have found an independent publishing house who are interested in it so I will see how I feel when it is all finished.

It would be wrong to say that I have learnt a lot whilst writing it as I wouldn’t ever write about something I didn’t know well but I have been surprised at some of the things I had forgotten and I’ve been diverted several times from what I should be doing by bits of information that twigged my curiosity.

Well, I’d better get back to the trenches so to speak.  Whatever you’re doing today, I hope you have a lot of fun doing it!

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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14 Responses to My first cover story!

  1. Congrats on the cover story and the book. Sounds like you’re really making amazing progress. 🙂

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  2. merrildsmith says:

    Congratulations on the cover story and good luck with your book!

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  3. Map of Time says:

    Dashed proud of you, old man. 😉 (Sorry. Obviously I’ve been reading too many wireless messages.)

    Like

  4. kiwiskan says:

    Well done! And I loved that Blackadder series…

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  5. Amy Reese says:

    Congrats on your cover story, Stephen. Well done! That sounds like just the kind of history book that I would enjoy. Gee, I can’t imagine why you feel overwhelmed. You’re only taking on WW1! Good luck!

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    • Thanks Amy, I will post a link when I can. Yes, sometimes I do rather feel like my brain will explode and I find when I am writing something I have to triple check to see if I referenced it earlier or have to explain it from scratch 🙂

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  6. jenowenby says:

    That’s so exciting! Congrat Stephen!

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