Alex Annesty Zobeland diary / blog

Diary / Blog

This isn't the most detailed diary you'll ever read, because most of it only documents my occasional forays into Zobeland. However, I record a few other thoughts and events here, just to provide a time-line and a bit of an insight into the development of the novel and anything else I get involved in.

Some people have suggested I should call this page a 'blog'. I refrained from using the term originally because the entries are so brief and intermittent, unlike those of most blogs I've seen. As a slight concession, I've given the page a dual title until I can make my mind up. If you want something a little more current from me you can find me on Twitter @ukebloke.

Zobeland logo

The future of this diary

5th January, 2015

I seem to spend less and less time adding entries to this diary and most of this sort of stuff happens via social media these days so I'm going to stop posting here. I may return if and when Colin goes to Zobeland gets published. In the meantime this page will remain as a brief record of my intermittent attempts to work on the project. You can catch up with my continuing writing and other projects via my Twitter feed, Ukeblog (short writing pieces), Alex Annesty website and Phil Chapman website ('day job' writing details and blog).

I write like who?

5th November, 2013

According to the I Write Like analysis of Colin goes to Zobeland Chapter 3, Tonto's Revelation:

I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!


However, when I ran my second album review from my This Day In Music Apps project through the same analyzer I got the following result:

I write like
Anne Rice

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!


Intrigued, I fed one of my poems (entitled 'Bonfire' - apposite on this day in the English calendar) into the analyzer:

I write like
Harry Harrison

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!


And so on to the acid test: I ran the first chapter of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Great Boer War' through the analyzer and got this:

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!


I wonder what I'd need to give it to get the result "I write like Alex Annesty"?

Colin goes to Zobeland is ten years old

19th September, 2013

I had a bit of an inspiration this morning, regarding improvements to a piece of dialogue in chapter two of CGTZ, which makes reference to Stephen Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time'. For the first time in several months I opened the master draft copy and noticed that its creation date is 2003. Blimey, I've been at this, off and on, for over ten years now; I really must get round to finishing it. Anyway, in the meantime I typed up the changes and updated the web version of the draft, which is now available for download here.

A new draft at last

17th January, 2012

Happy New Year again, a year to the day since my last diary entry. I haven't been idle for a year, but I have been involved in some other writing projects, some of which are likely to earn me some money long before I finish CGTZ. Anyway, here we are in 2012 and I've made a long overdue return to Colin Goode. The result is a revised draft, which is available for download here.

Sadly, the One Million Monkeys Typing site seems to have disappeared in the latter part of 2011. I'm attempting to find out what happened and whether it can be resurrected; it's far too good an idea to be allowed to die out.

A longer introduction to Zobeland

17th January, 2011

Happy New Year, whoever you are; as I said to my old friend John recently, I trust 2011 brings all of us good company, good cheer, good ale and the means to pay for it.

Recently, I've found myself thinking about big subjects a lot of people seem to have daft opinions on (e.g. global warming, dark matter etc.) and have started jotting some down; I think they may end up in the Zobeland - An introduction chapter, as comments made by Zobelanders, in response to their observations of our world.

Interrupted by clones

30th August, 2010

Once again work on CGTZ has been held up by another story idea. This new one stays in the science fiction genre, but so far appears to be a bit more serious than CGTZ. It revisits the old cloning theme but, I hope, with a new twist. Anyway, I have a basic synopsis sketched out, so now I can return to Colin Goode, who is in need of rescuing, but not from clones.

Musical Hiatus

22nd July, 2010

I haven't completely ignored CGTZ over the past six months. However, I have been working on a couple of other projects too:

I've had to resort to the boring but necessary expedient of working at my 'old job' to keep the wolves from the door, food on my plate and beer in my glass. Unfortunately, this is anything but 'nine to five' and I have little time, or energy left for creative writing at the moment.

I've also found musical inspiration, which has driven me to revive a dormant and, as yet, untitled project. It's a stage musical, for which I have a half written synopsis and nine songs, in various stages of completion; these include two new numbers, which I've written this year.

The diversions of conventional work should reduce to a more sensible level shortly and I look forward to helping Colin Goode out of his current predicament at the end of the summer.

Diverted by keyboards

13th January, 2010

Well, I have been working on the overall synopsis for CGTZ and this has resulted in several plot reshuffles. However, I've also been busy working on my much-neglected musical endeavours. While I was doing this the twenty year old original battery finally died in my Yamaha DX7s. I decided to get my soldering iron out and install a home designed modification, to make future battery replacements easier. If you are in a similar position, you can view detailed instructions, with pictures here: How to replace the battery in a Yamaha DX7s.

More danger for Colin

28th September, 2009

Following a bit more work on the synopsis, it looks like Colin will have another major danger to face and overcome. This will probably appear somewhere in the second half of the story. More news to follow, as this idea develops.

Return of the download

15th September, 2009

I've just discovered that, since we moved this website to a new server in August, the download facility has been disabled. This has now been reinstated, but with password protection. This gives me a bit more control over my copyright material and allows me to see who's downloading it.

Change of order

9th September, 2009

For most of this year I've been agonizing over why I seem to have got stuck with CGTZ plot development. I've finally decided that a few key elements are in the wrong order, so I'm going to revisit the synopsis and carry out some open chapter surgery. Hopefully, the patient will come out of resus in good condition and start putting on weight rapidly!

I'm on Twitter!

21st May, 2009

Well, I have been doing some work on CGTZ, but I've had to do a lot more work on my day job this year, largely thanks to the effects of the credit crunch. I really want to get back to CGTZ and hope to find some time soon. In the meantime, I've joined Twitter, so I can post any thoughts and updates. You can find me Tweeting here.

New year - new chapter

5th January, 2009

Crikey! Has it really been that long since I updated this diary? Yuletide work and family commitments certainly took their toll, but I've also been writing contributions to Writing.com, Writers' Cafe, One Million Monkeys Typing and my own Ukebloke's Ukeblog. However, I haven't neglected CGTZ utterly; I have several pages of new material and additional notes, which should form most of a new chapter, plus key sections of three more. I'll try to get it all pulled together, with a view to getting a new version uploaded in February.

An editor at last!

8th October, 2008

Recently, I had the good fortune to meet up with an experienced editor. She very kindly offered to edit the last draft of CGTZ. As a result, a leaner, meaner and slightly more readable version is now available for download here.

A new draft and another website

12th September, 2008

The latest CGTZ draft is now available for download here. It contains some re-written sections, following my latest read through.

I've separated AlexAnnesty.com from Zobeland.com and set up a simple Alex Annesty website, with links to some other writing I've posted on the web. Please have a look and let me know what you think. The new site is at www.alexannesty.com.

Worldwide Topsites

6th September, 2008

In my continuing efforts to raise awareness of CTGZ, I've registered this site with Worldwide Topsites. I don't know how effective it will be, but all you have to do to help promote my novel and this site is to click on the following promotional link: Worldwide Topsites - AlexA. Thanks in advance!

Filling in the gaps

5th August, 2008

In addition to fitting in a holiday and then catching up with work, I've continued to develop the CGTZ synopsis. This has resulted in a bit of chapter reshuffling, but has added a lot more meat to the bones of the story. It looks like I'm heading for twenty to thirty chapters now; a bit more than I'd originally envisaged. I'm on a roll at the moment, so it might be a few weeks before the next instalment is ready for uploading, but I'm confident it will be worth the wait.

Zobeland - An introduction

16th June, 2008

I've had some feedback, suggesting that CGTZ is similar to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Whilst I'm flattered by the comparison, the stories are quite different to each other. I wondered if the similar sounding Nurklander's Guide to Zobeland was at least partially to blame and decided to rename it; it's now referred to as Zobeland - An introduction, which is probably a more appropriate title anyway. I've updated the on-line version with the revised text.

Frog comes into focus

13th June, 2008

I had an idea for a conversation with Frog, centred on his love of 1970s progressive rock music and the Dutch band Focus in particular. This resulted in the addition of half a page to yesterday's new draft. I updated the on-line version straight away, because this new bit fits in quite well with what was already there.

A new draft at last

11th June, 2008

I've finally managed to get a new draft uploaded. It includes a beefed up version of the Nurklander's Guide, quite a lot of rearrangement of story flow, several new sections and the first few pages of the Frog chapter. All in all, there are a lot of changes and thirteen more pages than the last draft. Draft 3.2 is available for download here.

A wet Monday in Reigate

3rd June , 2008

Despite the rain, I had a great day and a bit in Reigate. I've taken loads of photos of key locations, bought some street maps and guide books and refreshed my memory of the layout of the place. Oh, and in the interests of comprehensive research, I tried out several of the pubs too. Sadly, none of them had White Shield.

Reigate field trip

28th May, 2008

Next Monday I'll be visiting Reigate for the first time since the mid 1980s. I'll be spending 24 hours researching key locations, including the real life counterpart of the Soldier's Eye; I hope they still serve White Shield.

Time for a synopsis?

1st May, 2008

Phew. After a couple of weeks of failing to write any new CGTZ material, other than sporadic plot notes, I hit on the radical idea of writing a synopsis. I suppose I might have benefited from this a year or so ago, but I didn't want to stop the 'stream of consciousness' approach to writing, which seemed to work so well earlier. However, since the stream appeared to have dried up, at least temporarily, what did I have to lose? Anyway, this evening I've dashed off the next three chapters worth of plot ideas in a sort of overview stream of consciousness. Once again, my hostelry of choice in Shrewsbury provided the right ambience and I'm a step closer to another big addition to the working draft. Hopefully, I'll be uploading a new version to this site within the next week or so.

White Shield is in

10th April, 2008

I've just received permission from those nice people at Molson Coors to use references to their brand, Worthington's White Shield, in CGTZ. Thanks guys! Although not vital to the plot, I feel White Shield has become part of the fabric of the story, certainly for Colin and Tonto, so I'm delighted to get the official go-ahead.

WI is WEL

27th March, 2008

I've never been completely happy with Wildebeest Instruments, abbreviated to WI, as the name of Dave Wilde's company. I've now renamed it Wildebeest Electronics Limited, with the acronym WEL. I think this reads a bit better.

Dave Wilde's daughters

9th March, 2008

It came to me that Dave Wilde probably should have a family and I started jotting down ideas. This quickly developed into three daughters, at least one of whom I think will feature in the story in some key way.

Tonto's mother

2nd March, 2008

At last, after too much work and not enough writing, I've managed to finish chapter 3, write a bit more on Frog and start some detail of other characters. Today, I came up with quite a lot of stuff about Tonto's mum (or 'mom' for Stateside readers), all inspired by a briefly overheard fragment of conversation at the local swimming baths. I love it when a tiny germ of an idea develops so rapidly I find it difficult to type - or scribble, as was the case today - fast enough to keep up with my flow of thought.

Leap year day and a diary page correction

29th February, 2008

Thanks to the people who've pointed out that the 'Tonto gets a name' entry of 12th July 2007 should come before the 'Zobeland.com goes live' entry of 6th August 2007. I'm not sure how I managed to get them mixed up, but it's fixed now.

More Zobelanders

22nd January, 2008

I've rearranged chapters 2 and 3 to make way for a new section involving Zobelanders. I think this, combined with a soon to be completed chapter 3 is worth uploading as a new draft. I'll see what I can do this week.

Frog is on the way

14th January, 2008

I've written loads of stuff on Colin's friend, Frog, and am ready to join them all together to make chapter 4. I really like Frog and I've been so caught up with writing about him that I've neglected the end of chapter 3, which I must complete, hopefully this week. I'd really like to get a new draft, up to the end of chapter 4 uploaded by the end of February at the latest.

A new year and a new download

2nd January, 2008

I managed to find some time over the holiday period to consolidate all my jottings and notes of the last few weeks into an updated draft. This is now available for download.

New character & chapter titles

17th December, 2007

I've come up with a new character, who I'm really pleased with and think will feature quite quite a lot in the story. I've also decided to combine chapter one with chapter two and give all chapters titles. The current working titles for the revised chapters one to four are:

  1. Two unusual things
  2. A Nurklander's guide to Zobeland
  3. Tonto's revelation
  4. Frog

More writing on the horizon - at last

7th December, 2007

This week has been all day job, with no time for CGTZ at all, although I have managed the usual collection of scribbled ideas on bits of paper. Next week I'm working away all week, so I'm hoping to spend a few productive evenings in the pub - from a writing perspective that is - although I may enjoy the odd pint or two.

Insomniac writing session

23rd November, 2007

Woke up at 4 a.m. with loads of ideas buzzing round my head. Gave up trying to sleep after an hour, got up and wrote them all down. Loads of useful stuff on Zobelanders and the history of the link between Colin's world and Zobeland. Chapter 4's coming on well; I can't wait to get it finished and uploaded to the web site.

A proper web site at last

9th November, 2007

Replaced the basic Zobeland page with a CGTZ site, with several pages, including this one.

Colin spills the beans with Tonto

1st October, 2007

Another pub writing session. Colin decides to tell Tonto about Zobeland.

Registered AlexAnnesty.com

26th September, 2007

A new domain pointing to the web site.

Zobeland High Council makes an appearance

24th September, 2007

Back in the pub in Shrewsbury. Dashed off a page of A4 as fast as I could scribble. The whole piece came out as a stream of consciousness and I'm really pleased with it. I've found out a bit more about Zobelanders as a result. Also added a page introducing Tonto's 'weirdo'.

A bit of a reshuffle

8th September, 2007

Chapter 3 has pinched some pages from chapter 4 and earlier sections have had a bit of a re-write, following several read-throughs.

Chapter 4 under way

15th August, 2007

Working away in Shrewsbury. Hand wrote nine pages of A4 in the pub, completing chapter three and making major inroads into chapter four. I wish I'd had the laptop with me; I'm not looking forward to typing that lot up.

The Shack takes shape

12th August, 2007

Created plans for the WI shack, to help me visualise the layout and produce consistent descriptions.

Zobeland.com goes live!

6th August, 2007

Finally, I've come up with some basic zobeland.com branding and produced a basic web site. It's still not much more than a holding page though.

Tonto gets a name!

12th July, 2007

After having the working name of 'Bostik' for over four years, Tonto is now 'Tonto'.

Draft 3: CGTZ reborn!

27th February, 2007

After just over two years of no writing, other than the occasional jotted note, I'm starting to get some time in the evenings, as a result of having to work away every now and then. Created a new draft and got stuck in.

Registered domains for the CGTZ web site

4th February, 2005

Registered zobeland.com and the-zobe.com and created a basic holding page, stating that the novel Colin goes to Zobeland was coming soon. I suppose it is soon, geologically speaking.

Draft 2 created

14th March, 2004

Changed the draft one order around a little, incorporated a lot of jotted notes and added more to chapter two.

Work starts

Mid 2003 - still trying to establish the exact date.

After several failed attempts to write novels by planning them in advance, I sat down at the laptop and started typing. I had decided that I wouldn't allow myself to be limited by the merely feasible and the sparrow arrived half-way down page one.


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