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Blog: Return To Dinosaur Planet

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Alongside all of the OTHER stuff going on there is another SECRET PROJECT what I have been working on now for LITERALLY YEARS that has been secret because... um... well, now I think of it, I'm not entirely sure! It is still very much ONGOING so - SPOILERS - this blog does not end with me saying "And that is why I am leaving my job and going to live in the Cayman Islands for tax purposes" or anything, but I thought it might be nice to FINALLY explain what I've been doing.

So, a few years ago I self-published a BOOK called "Storm House", which some lovely people were kind enough to BUY with CA$H. Before that the book had originally been with an agent, with plans to sell it to Normal Publishers, but JUST when I was about to sign a contract with them (i.e. about a day away from so doing) that agent went on maternity leave and the agency decided not to go ahead with taking me on. This was NO FUN AT ALL and QUITE DISAPPOINTING to say the very least so I decided to release it myself. That was GRATE fun, but after a while I thought it might be worth another go trying to get it published in Actual Book Shops. With this in mind I got myself a copy of The Writers And Artists Yearbook and started going through the lists of agents again.

To cut a very very very very long story short, after many rejections and unanswered emails I eventually got through to someone who liked it and I got myself signed up with a LITERARY AGENCY - a real proper one too! I then spent a couple of YEARS re-writing "Storm House" several times to make it into a Proper Kids' Book, and then another YEAR or so seeing if we could sell it. I am sad to report that we DID NOT sell it, so all in all it was probably a good thing that I put it out myself!

HOWEVER, his was not the end, for during COVID TIMES I sat myself down and wrote ANOTHER book, and LO! this one was an adaptation of Dinosaur Planet, because why wouldn't it be? However, rather than do a straight adaptation of the original I took onboard the (MANY) INSIGHTS gained from the re-writes to the first book and set out from the start to make it suitable for kids. This involved making the CHARACTERS into children, so that now Terry is about 10 and his COUSIN (not his Grandad) is the one who has all the theories about dinosaurs. More than this, however, a whole NEW character emerged with a whole NEW story who links together loads of the original bits of plot and adds in several GRATE new bits, and also JOKES. For example, there's a bit I particularly love involving a dancing competition on a roundabout near New England. It is, I think, JOLLY GOOD.

It has been an ENJOYABLE but also STRENUOUS experince, which is by no means over. The book was finished last year and then MY AGENT (I really like saying "MY AGENT" and I must admit that the ability to say that more often in public is a big part of the rationale for finally blogging about all this!) sent it out to publishers. They then sent back very nice rejection letters, some of which included WISE THORTS, and one in particular generated some VERY good ideas which me and MY AGENT (it's cool isn't it?) discussed at length.

The upshot of all THAT is that I then did ANOTHER massive re-write which made it all a lot shorter and funnier, which I sent over to MY AGENT a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have been working on an OVERVIEW of the SERIES - yes, the SERIES - which is destined to go off with the main book when it gets sent out again. I do not mind telling you that doing this has been some of the BEST FUN of the whole (incredibly lengthy) process, as I get to sit around thinking "Oh yes of course, in Book Four they can go to COSMIC PETERBOROUGH" or "AHA! So THAT is when The Space Poo reveal what they really are!" and so on and so forth.

It does feel nice to say (or type) this out loud at last! It has, as I say, been a VERY LONG PROCESS with lots of twists and turns and also lots of me wanting to give up entirely, but at this point I'm feeling more hopeful than I have in a long time that it might actually GET somewhere. I am really keen to UNLEASH some of this new stuff onto people, and though I cannot do so as yet I'm hoping to be able to at least TELL you about it in a bit more detail soon!

posted 18/5/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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