Showing posts from November, 2018

Being inspired, maybe – 23

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: "There's a huge difference between this and a five star Hilton, you know." Jack Thompkins, criminal, was being very vocal about his witness protection arrangements.  He had told me, over and over, how he used to live. I was getting tired of telling him that that was because he was living on the proceeds of crime.  And because of that crime, he came to the police before he was murdered by a contract assassin. There were, he had been told at the time, pros and cons of being an informant. I guess he didn't listen to the part where if he was caught skimming the proceeds of his boss, it would only end badly for him. You'd think he'd be grateful, a place to stay at no cost, three meals a day, 24-hour protection, namely me and one other policewoman who had also drawn a short straw. I wasn't looking forward to three months with this guy. "Whi

NaNoWriMo - Day 30 - Just crossed the finish line

That's it for another year. 67,941 words written, but if I sat down now to read the novel, the post-it notes would get in the way. Oh, there is so much revision to do! But, at least I managed to write a complete novel in a month which is what I managed to do each year, and then worry about editing and refining for the next eleven. Not looking forward to that job, no sir. Of course, the ending is nothing like what I envisioned thirty days ago in the plan, but where does it ever once the characters take over. Until next year or something momentous, I bid you all a good night.

NaNoWriMo - Day 29 - The finish line is in sight

And everything is going to hell in a handbasket. The end I had all formed in my mind and ready to put down, well, I don't think I should have gone to bed last night. I had a dream. Sounds a bit like a familiar speech, doesn't it. My dream wasn't quite as prophetic, it was a new ending. Damn. Had I stayed up and wrote the damn thing as it was, I wouldn't be here now, trying to pull down walls and recement them back together a different way, two hours before the official opening. I could just scream!!!

NaNoWriMo - Day 28 - The final two chapters are coming

That's right. Two chapters to go, before I get to type those two wonderful words. 'The End' Of writing that first draft, of course. But not the end of the process.  A little rest time away from it and then the next laborious task begins. Editing. Perhaps we should have a NaMaWriMo, with the Ma standing for May, and setting a month aside to do the first edit. Come to think of it, maybe I'll do it just to see how it goes.

NaNoWriMo - Day 27 - All's well, if it ends well

Three days to go, so much to do. Although I've reached the 50,000-word target I have not finished the novel, and the plot changes are causing a little consternation. I know now how it is going to end, but it's the getting there, in three days that's the problem. So, back and forth I go, laying the groundwork in the earlier chapters and I now have only one more piece to fix, the words on the document that set the series of events in motion. Novel writing is exhausting. The first draft is going to be a horrible mess and when I print it out it's going to be covered in post-it notes, but after all is said and done it will be a novel written in 30 days, a remarkable achievement.

NaNoWriMo - Day 26 - Something had to change

And that, my friends, is the words on the document. When I conceived the original story, the words were quite simple, a memo from one man to another, words that should not be committed to paper. Ah, yes, the dreaded paper trail. Those words were adequate at the time, but now, with developments in the story and a shift or two in the plotline, it's time to change those words. They need to be damaging enough to kill a lot of people in the line of making both the words and the document they appear on, disappear forever. And here's the thing... No one ever counted on the fact deleting on a computer is not deleting.

Being inspired, maybe – 22

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: This jungle survival course had disaster written all over it. To be honest, I didn't want to come, and I certainly didn't want to participate in it. But, it was compulsory.  Senior management had decided to send all eligible junior management employees who were up for promotion attend as part of their assessment. I'd heard about them from other aspiring management hopefuls, and, though no one could prove it, it was apparently rigged. Both Melanie and I were of the same opinion, it wasn't worth the effort.  We would participate together, and couldn't care less about the outcome.  We both worked in the same department and had been told that two of the other aspirants had already been selected. Melanie knew of them, and their reputations for laziness and using other people to promote themselves, so she wanted to see how they would fend for themselves.

NaNoWriMo - Day 25 - The end is nigh, for someone!

For all those people out there who think the end of the world is coming, it is not. For all those people out there who think my story is getting the end, I really hope so. I'm writing three separate chapters, each a little at a time, trying to dovetail the sequence of events that will lead to the unmasking of the murderer and find the whereabouts of 30 odd missing persons. What had begun as a simple quest has turned into a convoluted tale of lies, distortions, and people whose propensity for being something other than who they appear, had muddied the waters,. Yep, everything you'd expect in a completely unexpected ending. I hope.

Being inspired, maybe – 21

A  picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: There's a storm coming and in more ways than one. It wasn't just the overcast sky, the threat of impending rain, or the scudding black clouds being pushed across the sky by a foul wind, it was more than that. Was it the atmospherics that was creating a feeling of impending doom, that judgment day was upon us? It felt like it. The country's political system was in disarray, with politicians arguing among themselves rather than running the country.  It was far easier to lay blame than it was to try and fix the problem. The banks had finally been found out, accused of and charged with practices that beggared belief.  There had been a run on one bank, and it was predicted there would be more. The electrical grid was slowly collapsing through lack of infrastructure updates and additions, and the lack of interest in creating renewable energy such as wind farms sola

NaNoWriMo - Day 24 - Sanity, if nothing else, returns

Got the 50,000 words, 51,540 to be exact, but the story is not done yet. Hasty revisions, adding more words, taking out some others, it's a long and difficult day, with the yellow post-it note collection growing exponentially. Where would we be without them, endless scraps of paper strewn over an already cluttered desk? All it would take was one enthusiastic cleaning lady, and it would become an 'oh-my-god' moment. The end, however, is becoming clearer, and I'm working towards it from three different angles.

Being inspired, maybe – 20

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: When I went to sleep, it was in a bunk on a sailing boat having ended my watch, having weathered the storm, and everything had been under control. I was exhausted and was out the moment my head hit the pillow. The first thing I noticed was the lack of movement of the vessel.  Or the comfort of the bunk. There was the strong smell of the ocean, and, very clearly, the sound of waves, the sort of sound them made when crashing on the shore. I opened my eyes and immediately saw sand.  And felt very wet, the water lapping up to my knees, then my stomach. Not on the boat, but on a stretch of sand. I lifted my head.  Rocks.  Ocean.  Sand. Rolling over was difficult, painful, and getting into a sitting position more so, as every part of my body felt like it had been used as a punchi ng bag.  Through what was left of my shirt I could see the bruising, and it was bad. Breathing

NaNoWriMo - Day 23 - No, no, no, no, no

No. You know how it is when a brilliant plot line comes to you in the middle of the night, when you're half asleep, after a long day of writing. A long day maybe, but not much writing, because the current plot line heading towards the end doesn't gel. I write a page or three, toss it.  Another page, toss it.  Another two pages, toss it. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn. Another secondary character wants to come out and play a bigger part, except that to do this I have to go back and seed a few pointers so that the revelation doesn't seem skewed, or worse, coming out of nowhere. No sleep tonight, have to sow the seeds while it's fresh in my mind. Seriously, with only seven days to go and this pops into my head?

Being inspired, maybe – 19

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: "I thought your mother wanted to keep the fernery?" Melissa, though, hated anything to do with gardens and would have happily bulldozed the lot and put up an extended patio. Now, looking at how overgrown it had become, I was almost in agreement with her and had said so. Why then did she mention my mother's wishes? The truth was, it had sentimental value to me, a place where I used to go and disappear from the world, often to lose myself on one of the old books my grandmother had given me from her library. Old books from the 19th century, books that had been handed down to her, and had that definitive old age smell about them, with bindings the cracked when you opened the covers. They were about a different world that it was today, and it had seeded my imagination. Now, the fernery had been reduced to an overgrown mess.  It once had a path through the m

NaNoWriMo - Day 22 - So close I can taste it

Or something like that, it's a rather interesting expression I had to look up. There's more than one meaning, perhaps referring to being near the ocean and tasting the salt in the air, or the fact that your objecting is so close to attainment, it is assured. But I once again digress... 49,042 words, Day 22, 8 more days to go, 1,000 off words to make the magic 50,000. This novel, though, is not going to be within the 50,000-word limit, it is going to be more like 60,000 words. Currently, I'm working on the 'surprise' ending...

Being inspired, maybe – 18

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: I guess I had a lot to think about. It was a large lake, and it was a long walk.  Two and a half hours at best, four hours at worst, and even at it's longest, I still don't think it would be enough time to process what Hannah had just told me. I stood there, on the sand, watching her walk away in tears.  The truth had been like a ton of bricks falling on me.  What was worse, I seemed to be the only one who didn't know. And if Hayley, her younger sister, hadn't blurted it out after coming home from my brothers funeral wake, I'd still not know. The truth? I was not the true father of my son, my elder brother was.  Hannah and he had sex the night before our wedding, and not only that, kept up an affair that had continued until the day he died.  In bed with my wife. And I never suspected anything. Till now, when all the oddities, my brother's behavi

NaNoWriMo - Day 21 - Not long to go, need to write faster!

Three weeks down and the finish line is just around the corner, and over that invisible hill. The legs are like rubber, and the going is getting harder.  I've never run in a marathon but I'm beginning to think I know what it might be like. I'd hate to run out of steam and get only 49,999 words written before they cart me off to the rehydration tent. It's hard work, lonely work, but like building a house, you get to see the physical results of that work. Enough, I've got to get back to work. I can see the hill!

NaNoWriMo - Day 20 - Reworking the synopsis

Yes, it's that time, nearly three weeks in, and writing a story sequentially from start to finish has some perils involved with it. Like the plotting, and like any good actor given a bit part in a movie, the objective is to make it their own. I think it's called, grabbing hold of your fifteen minutes of fame and using it. Characters do this us, they force themselves out of their restrictive cacoon.  One of mine has taken her bit part and is not the frontrunner for the villain. How do you make such personable people drip with evil?

Being inspired, maybe – 17

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: "Who are you?" Jack had been summoned to what appeared to be a disaster area.  Police, SWAT, Army, Ambulances, Fire Brigade, anyone who was anyone was standing by, red, yellow and blue lights flashing everywhere.   One man, looking very resolute, was directing his chess pieces. Jack had told the officer at the barricade he needed to speak to the person in charge, and resolute man was him. And, 100 yards away was the imposing tower, just built, and opened to the public as a viewing platform of the city. Or, today, something else entirely. "Jack." "Jack who?" It was starting to sound like the start of a joke, Jack thought. "Jack Stenson." "What are you doing here.  You're supposed to be back behind that line."  He pointed to the barricades a further 500 yards back. "Got a text message to come here,"

NaNoWriMo - Day 19 - Finally, we’ve got the internet back

After two days in the technological wilderness, we are back, which must say something about the human condition. I'm sure, one day, the internet will collapse and billions of us will go through the same withdrawal symptoms I just did, and there'll be a lot of clean rooms around. Even so, there are those two items that were very prevalent when I went to school, pencils. HB or 2B, or colored, and lined paper in what was called an exercise book, 48 pages, 64 pages, 96 pages or 128 pages. I am yet to equate words to an exercise book page, but that's the least of my problems. Still working on the new killer, and a perfect match for the hero.  Yes, I'm hoping we can have a happy ending for at least two characters. The others, well, you reap what you sow!

A momentary bout of inspiration - a new story - 3.1

I think I put this down when I was feeling sorry for myself, or suffering from another bout of mild depression, that sort that writers get when they keenly feel their lack of progress, or simply because it takes a long time to perfect their craft, if ever. And, of course, it's the start of another spy thriller and needs work As always. I had a fear of being ordinary. I'd been that once, all through my youth, that fellow who was overweight and the butt of many jokes as only other children can make you feel so intensely. For that reason, I'd retreated into my own world to escape the torment, and had entered university life quite behind the eight ball. And if it wasn't for the interest Janine Westerbrook had shown in me, perhaps another tormented soul, I might have completely given up all hope of getting along in a world that I didn't really understand. Study friend, and someone who at first accompanied her to the gym as support staff, to join her in

NaNoWriMo - Day 18 - Still No Internet

More time to stretch out on the newly cleared sofa in my writing room to consider the direction the work in progress is taking. We've reached a point where the guilty now have to make a move. I'm not quite sure how I want to do this, but the questioning of suspects has made it quite clear, the person in charge has covered their tracks carefully. Will it be the case that like all people who think they have all the bases covered, make one tiny mistake that will lead to their undoing. Fortunately, I'm not up to that part of the story but it is occupying a large part of my thoughts.

NaNoWriMo - Day 17 - Coping without technology

There are no more surprises at least for today. We have no internet, the power company came along and removed an old pole and that was the end of it. It's amazing what you can't do when there's no internet, and then all the things you said you would do one day if only you had the time. This mornings word count accumulates quickly without the distractions so I had the afternoon to finally clean up my workspace. Now I can't find anything.

NaNoWriMo - Day 16 - A twist I didn't see coming

Yes. I had worked out who the murderer was going to be. Don't you just hate it when the story unfolds in a different manner?  The current person tapped for the murder is looking very guilty, except for one piece of evidence that was not taken into account. I can't say what it is. And I can't tell you who the likely suspect is, because now I'm not quite sure myself.  I feel this is like a true life murder crime. plodding through the leads and clues one at a time. Once again I'm writing a story that unfolds for me just as it would for the reader.

Being inspired, maybe – 15

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: The early bird catches the worm, my father always said. It's always darkest just before dawn, was another of his sayings, but I think that one had to do with his days in the war when the men were about to go into battle. Dawn always seems to be the time when the police arrive, kick the door down and drag you out of bed.  Something to do with the fact you're more pliable for questioning if you still almost asleep. Then there are those moments when you've been out all night, and just as you think about going home the sun comes up.  Those few minutes can provide a kaleidoscope of colors, or sometimes a sinister warning of rain, or worse. In winter you can freeze your ass off. In summer, it's a momentary relief from the endless heat. But dawn, for me, has been etched into my mind forever, because it was the time of day my brother was killed. The police cal

NaNoWriMo - Day 15 - Half way there

Yes, 15 days down and 15 days to go. At this point my hand is starting to cramp from the toils of writing, yes, I'm one of those writers who often puts words to paper longhand. Two weeks is a long time, but I think this sort of exercise is what's needed if you want to write a novel every year, though this one is going to come out with more than 50,000 words. I think there are about three more chapters to go to end part two, then I can get onto the big finale in part three. It has turned out to be a bigger project than I originally thought, and I didn't think I could stretch it to 50,000 words.  Now, I'm hoping to keep it to about 60,000. Still, no need to get ahead of myself.  Murphy's law may yet rear its ugly head.

NaNoWriMo - Day 14 - I'm ahead of target so time for revision

Whenever I'm writing, especially when I'm working to a plan, things never quite go the way I'd originally envisaged. You get so far, and an idea pops into your head, and then, thinking it will work well, often it requires a little extra in previously written work. Of course, when also writing to a time constraint, that's not always possible, so your desk, computer keyboard or monitor becomes a repository for endless yellow post-it notes reminding you of the plot holes to be fixed. I have time, and today I will be fixing them. I also suspect this might make my word count for the project exceed the required 50,000. We shall see!

NaNoWriMo - Day 13 - It's that unlucky number

Hopefully, it won't hex my writing. It's day 13 and I'm over half way in that devil on the shoulder word count, 27, 275 words to be exact. That is in Microsoft Word is not playing 'Friday the Thirteenth' tricks on me.  Good thing it's not Friday. Part 2 is proceeding as expected with no surprises, and the characters are behaving themselves, well, in the writing sense. I've found that I now need to write another chapter, before the end of the first part, to help explain, later on, some of the plot nuances.  This sort of issue often arises for me when getting to a particular point in a later section, I realize the reader needs a pointer or a nuance earlier on so that the revelation makes sense, not come out of left field. Sorry, I have to get back to work, I don't know where the time goes.

NaNoWriMo - Day 12 - I'm heading into uncharted territory

It could equally describe a place or my emotions, though in this case, it is the emotional side. I'm taking on the persona of the main character, and try to sort through the emotions of, firstly wondering what it might be like to want the unobtainable, and secondly, what it might be like if circumstances, albeit unfortunate, bring you together. Yes, it's the girl.  You know how the standard love story goes, boy meets girl, boy loses the girl, boy somehow manages to save the day and win her back.  That's the male side, for women it might be the other way around. However, sometimes the unobtainable is that for a reason.  We shall see how this turns out. On a more interesting note, I have hit the halfway mark for the number of words, 25,118. I'd like to say it's all downhill from here, but that's never the case, is it?

Being inspired, maybe – 16

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: Intermingled with this desire, I'm not sure where it came from, to live in a castle, the fascination of what was inside the twin towers of Tower Bridge was a curiosity of what it would be like inside, then, and now. Of course, it was never going to happen, I mean living in a castle, that would require finding and marrying a princess, wouldn't it? "You and me both," Giles said, as we approached the bridge on the tour boat heading towards Greenwich.   We'd been talking about castles, I'm not sure why, and then princesses, because he had called his current girlfriend a 'princess' but I didn't think it was in a kind way. "You should be thankful Jenny puts up with your idiosyncrasies." It's mostly her brother.  He seems to think she should marry a doctor, or a lawyer, not a cabinetmaker.  I have to admit it doesn't sound

NaNoWriMo - Day 11 - Some characters deserve more

I've decided to give a character that was meant to be only in the periphery, a larger role. Characters seem to do that, demanding more from what was essentially a bit part. But, not only in extending this part, the will be a little subplot that I didn't initially consider but now will seamlessly fit in, and add some more meaning to what eventually happens. Another hole, it seems, is plugged. Oddly enough it's a few idioms that were running around in my head that brought this on. Take at face value Never judge a book by its cover A wolf in sheep's clothing And, of course, in business to succeed you have to be ruthless.

NaNoWriMo - Day 10 - I'm getting behind

Not only does the reality of life get in the way of writing, so does plot holes, and I guess this is why, in this sort of writing situation, it doesn't pay to go back and read over some of what's written. I did. And now wish I hadn't. The purpose of the exercise it to move forward, and I'm trying to, but the fact is, my subconscious was working overnight and pointed out a problem. Why couldn't I just wake up and imagine I was a No 1 bestselling author? I tried to leave it along, but it wasn't going to happen.  I had to fix it before going on. It added a few hundred words, well below quota, so now it's burning the midnight oil yet again.

A momentary bout of inspiration - a new story - 2.1

I hate it, but often in the middle of writing a story, I get an idea or inspiration for another. It could be anything from the start, a bit in the middle, or the end, but I cannot ignore it, and as most advice given says I should get it down. I write about spies, washed out, worn out or thrown out. It's time for me to go on with my next book. The first sentence of a novel is always the hardest. Like I guess many others, I sit and ponder what I'm going to write, whether it will be relevant, whether it will pull the reader into my world, and cause them to read on. And that's the objective, to capture the reader's imagination and want to see what's going to happen next. The problem is, we have to set the scene. Or do we? Do we need to cover the who, what, where, and when criteria in that first sentence? Can we just start with an edge of the seat suspense, like, The first bullet hit the concrete wall about six inches above my head with a resounding th

NaNoWriMo – Day 9 - Real life impinges on my writing time

Today is the day I pick up the grandchildren from school, cook dinner, then take them home. How does this affect the writing time, you ask. It doesn't help if you were up till 2:31 am the same morning and sleep in till after 10. Still time before leaving at 2:30 pm to go to the school, you say. Wrong. Food to prepare, a potato bake, simple to make, but it takes time to prepare, and cook. Chicken schnitzels, cut the chicken, and crumb it, simple, but takes time. Before you know it, it's time to go, and the potato bake has been in for an hour so far. Oh, and one child requires handmade chips, not the bought kind, and neither like store bought schnitzels, so everything is handmade. By the time the kids are back home, I've got the coffee from a drive-through cafe, it's after 7:00 pm. By the time I get to the computer to start, it's after 11:00 pm Tired. Mind is a blank. Just write Two and a half hours later, 1,697 words.  Gibberish it might b

A typical day in the life of a writer

Here's the thing ... I've always wanted to use that phrase ever since I heard it on a TV show called Becker, not that I really understood what it was about, or what the phrase meant, only that he used it a lot. Mostly to explain why he had not done something, got caught up, was late, or caused a problem. My reason, not doing something, well, writing basically. Well, I have, but not the book. I've been distracted.  Some might call it writer's block, but I can assure you it is nothing of the sort.   I have been drawn away into writing a short story, develop an idea into episodes for an eventual book, and accede to the demands of my granddaughters to write them a fantasy novel. They want to be the princesses, of course, and who better to tell me what to write than two potential readers.  I have been 'brainstorming' ideas with them, not that they really understand the concept, but we have come up with several kingdoms, good and bad, a princess who behaves

Being inspired, maybe – 14

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: I didn't believe in fate.  Nor did I believe in destiny. Things happened for a reason, even though that reason sometimes was not apparent at the time. At a loose end in Paris, the start of a week-long visit, I let a friend talk me into going to a tarot card reader.  She said the cards had predicted her future, and that I should give it a go. "What's the worst that could happen?" I didn't say it out loud, but turning up the death card would be just my luck. Over one too many wines, I let her talk me into going. Madam unpronounceable name was every inch the gypsy and was as theatrical as I'd expected.  I got the tarot card and crystal ball treatments. I didn't turn up the death card, much to my relief. I did get a forecast future, unambiguous, but rather mysterious. I would be going on a boat ride and I would run into a damsel in di

NaNoWriMo – Day 8, heading into the second week

The statistics are telling the story, in one sense. After 8 days, 16,685 words, an average of 1,853 words a day, an average of 1,515 words a day to meet the 50,000-word target, and to do that I will be finished by Nov 27. Of course, that would be true, but who writes a novel that is exactly 50,000 words? It would be novel (pardon the pun) if you could do just that, it's worth a moments thought before discarding. The words are finding themselves being grouped into chapters, and the story is taking shape with the first section almost done. Day 8 has seen the starting of the second section, and all I can say about the theme is be careful what you wish for!

Being inspired, maybe - 13

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance: And, then, the words: I can't remember who it was that said 'opportunities only come around once'. If I could, I'd probably give them a piece of my mind. Why you might ask. Many years back when I first met the woman who became my wife, she said, in that offhand throwaway manner of hers, that her family were landowners, and that a large part of her childhood was spent on that property. She also said that one day it would be hers. Yes, you heard me correctly, one day it would be 'hers'. I thought no more about it.  It was a conversation that came and went long before the children arrived.  I was born and raised in the city and didn't especially like our forays into the country. Thus it was that the children would go with their mother to the farm every holiday.  I went on some occasions, but I used work as an excuse to get out of going.  It was that or listening to