Quo Vadis?

I’m not really sure where I am going. I know where I have been today. Caffeine town, on Doubt alley.

I have managed to edit 20 thousand words. And what have I learnt? That I use the word “hiss” at least once a page – and no I’m not writing about snakes; that I use the word “order” nine times in one paragraph; that I CANNOT spell and that punctuation is something I leave to those that know who to wield it.

None of this is helpful. Neither is thinking about the flaws, the gaps and the omissions. We all know what it’s like. You put the manuscript in the bottom draw for a few weeks. One day it’s time to peek at it again only to find that it’s awful and terrible.

I’m putting it down for tonight. I will be picking it up tomorrow bright and early (as bright and early as my hangover allows!) and not only will I be killing my darlings, I will be smashing them, burning them, torturing them till they make me both weep and sing with delight. Then I will kill them some more.

I can’t despair. Not after nearly eighty thousand words.


Absence Form

I’m not sure I want to acknowledge how inconsistent my posting is… Its been a few months since I crash and burned in NaNoWriMo… I’d like to say I have a good excuse…

sick-note2and I guess I do (family illness, divorce, house moves (2)) but the truth is that writers write. They write when the times are good and they write when the excrement hits the rotating blades.

It’s not all doom and absence though. I have been writing and editing. Slowly and in bits. Sadly it’s not on the novel. I have used the life events to work on a new short (long) story, which is now 90% complete.

This weekend I will start editing the novel and filling in the few gaps that remain.

I’m also looking at what conventions and festivals to attend this year. I want to get more involved in the UK writing community. Last year I went to Alt Fiction which was fantastic (very educational) and Harrogate Crime Festival (which was not so educational – But I got to meet Ben Aaronovitch (squee)!).

Any suggestions? What cons / festivals are gonna be good this year?


Day 6 NaNoWriMo – Early

Sometimes I feel that I write because the words just need to be said. They come bursting out. Do I need to see a shrink? Is it madness that to feel that you are merely a channel through which your imaginary characters can say their words and speak their mind?

There are some characters that are easier to speak for than others. Some you feel more aligned to, more sympathetic towards. They share something of you and you have things in common as much as you can have things in common with a figment of your imagination.

I am curious to learn if other people, other writer feel the same. I think they do, I guess they do. Which begs the question how do you write the lives, and words of those characters you have nothing in common with? How do you verbalise the feelings of personas you hate? Where in the psyche does that come from? I’d like to know how people speak for murderer, rapists and pedophiles.

It must be hard to paint them s real people and it must feel dirty to speak on their behalf. You don’t want to sympathise with them or their actions. Perhaps that is why they are often the hidden, the mysterious and the hunted. They stay relatively out of the picture the focus ever-present of the hero, the vanquisher. Yet I think that’s where the real talent comes in, if you can speak for those you detest and still make them rich and colourful, make them believable and sometimes sympathetic, you must have great skill.

I think that’s where I have a gap. I need to make my baddies more real and more believable. This morning I focused on the anger of the victim but later I will try to speak for the hated and see if I can make them come alive in my novel.

Day 3 NaNoWriMo – Meagre

I tried I SWEAR but only 612 words today.

How is everyone else doing?

Todays meagre offering:


He wondered what Edgar would think of all this. He looked around the room surveying his misdeeds and his mess. Such a bright future. He had been promised it but no one had ever asked him if he wanted it, apart from Edgar. He thought back to the day before he left for University.

“Is this it then? You leave and when you come back from Uni it will all be different?”

“I’ll still be me Ed.”

“Will you?” Edgar sat with his knees to his chest clasping them tightly. His hands were white and he couldn’t seem to meet Miles’ eye. “You’ll be some yahoo drunk on power and ready to throw yourself into whatever the old man has in store for you.”

“It’s the family firm it’s not like I’m joining a satanic cult.”

“Hmmm.” Edgar didn’t look convinced.

The sun was still high in the late summer sky and Miles sat on Edgar’s bed. He had come in to give him his address and some wise words. Though now that he was here it was Edgar that was keen to talk.

“God I’m dreading it. It’s as if I’m leaving. I wish I was leaving. I wish I was not being left here. With him.”

“He’s not that bad. “

“To you he’s not that bad. The eldest, the chosen blah blah blah. I’m the reject the fuck up.”

“You know you’re not.” There was a hint of anger in Miles voice. Their father was not an easy man but he only meant well and this self-indulgent moping from Edgar was helping no one.”

“Good grief of course I know I’m not.” He snapped back.  “But I am to him and he had low expectations of me to start with.”

“You have to understand it’s hard for dad. He is different, part of an older world where things were done in certain ways and some things well… some things were just not done.”

Miles stood up and looked out the window. He could see his mother sitting in the garden reading the Sunday Times with Pickle her little terrier on her lap. The old dog basking in the affection and in the sunshine. Mum sat with the paper but Miles noticed she didn’t seem to be turning the pages. Sitting there so still. What does she make of all this? Is this the future she saw for herself and for her sons?

“Just stay out of his way. That’s what I came in here to say. It’s the only advice I can offer. It’s not much. But time will heal the breach and things may even get back to normal. “

“Ha!” Edgar chuckled to himself and said “Normal? What was ever normal about this family?”

Miles turned to give him a withering look but as he did he saw just how young Edgar was and how scared he seemed to be.

“Don’t worry. It’s only 3 months till Christmas and then I’ll be back. “

He hoped Edgar would be ok till then.

Day 2 NaNoWriMo – Obfuscating

Day 2 went by without a word of the novel being written. I hope this is not a total fail and that I will get back to the proverbial horse and get going. I am quite scared that I will not achieve the 50k goal… but then again I am not starting a new novel, I’m just trying to finish the current one.
I will – really WILL – add some words today… but first im just gonna…

Day 1 NaNoWriMo – Displacement Activities

Good grief. I really do want to do NaNoWriMo. I promise. Cross my heart and all that, but i have done all in my power today to avoid it.

I woke at 6am (OMFG) to write but managed to have an extra long shower and get some quotes for damp proof courses (yawn). Upon returning from work I then… well, I managed to wash, clean and put EVERYTHING ever away (yawn squared), stopping briefly to eat before carrying on catching up on all my correspondence (comayawn). At 11:20pm I realised that i don’t pull my finger out now I would have a ZERO count on Day 1 and that would in fact be so very demotivating that i might just quit the whole thing.

Then I wrote 1096 words. And the house is spotless.

Good night – I hope everyone else has a better control on their destructive subconscious!

Flash Nov 1

It smelt green, strongly green. Intoxicating in not altogether a pleasant way. It bled at her feet and she knew that it’s stains would last a life time. Cut grass had a life cycle of its own. Born with the first cut, yet it reached it’s optimum, it’s softest and sweetest smell when it had lain in the sun for a few days. The acrid tinge would ebb away and a warm, musty cozy smell would take its place. It worked like a teleporter on her. It took her back to lazy afternoons, lying in the field behind the school. Knowing better but not doing it. It smelt exciting and forever of Mark. The only forever he had lived to have. He, much like the grass, had been cut down so young, so green, in another, quite faraway land. Where there is no grass.

She inhaled once more and walked away.