Tag Archives: #author

Bug Splats

I’ve broken my spell checker.

As soon as I’ve got to beyond 20,000 words my version of Openoffice now seems to be telling me that every words in the English language isn’t recognised. The small red lines appear under every single thing I write which isn’t exactly a massive deal but does represent a small pain in the neck.

I’ve checked whatever language the software is on and, as before, it’s set to ‘English UK’. I’ve tried resetting the whole thing but no joy.

So now I’ve just settled for switching that particular feature off and just carrying on regardless.

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When You Hear The Beep 

I seem to have developed a complete inability to start writing before lunch. Today also involved another trip to a supermarket to buy food. There’s a new one opening three minutes walk away from my house on Thursday so at least I won’t need to drive as of next week.

I tried to get started this afternoon but ended up putting it off again. Then I had to pick my son up from school. I then get an hour before starting dinner to ask him how his school day went.

I got started at around 10pm. This is far too late especially considering I have work in the morning so can’t go too late. I got another solid 500 word chunk done again but I’m left imagining how much I’d get done if I actually sat down in the morning and began then.

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Hexagonal Animal 

Well that was a uphill battle.

Today I finally returned to the book but it took a long time to actually get to it. Despite planning out where I’m going on a chapter by chapter basis I was struggling with what the first sentence of Chapter 13 was going to be. It was the exact same feeling as starting the whole book off back in March.

This chapter starts on the beach by the town in the early hours of a summer morning. How exactly did I want to describe that? How would I set the scene? The blank page in front of me has been a deadly chasm nearly all day. I hoovered instead, I put washing on, I drove six miles to a supermarket purely to buy onions! All of this to avoid the act of actually getting on with the thing.

Eventually, after everybody else in the house had gone to bed I began. I only got another 500 words onto the pile but they feel significant. 

We press on.

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Other Half Assed Excuses

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Here’s what I’ve been doing all these notes in for the last week or so. It’s a change from my usual black covers. I had thought that I’d be writing just a few lines before carrying on with the book. Those few lines threw up many extra questions regarding the story that I hadn’t anticipated before. I ended up taking each of the five main characters, writing down where they were at this point in the story and confirming what they want to achieve by the end and how they’re going to get there.

This in turn also chucked in a few more questions.

So I carried on.

I had hoped that Monday gone would have been the day when I picked this whole thing back up again but it felt too early. It felt like I had to sort a whole lot more stuff out. If I had gone back to it on that day then I probably would have had to organise a lot more issues out further down the line.

As it stands I’ve just finished planning out a further twenty chapters (on top of the twelve I have so far) which I think results in events rounding themselves off nicely at the end.

I think I’m ready to get back to it.

Wish me luck.

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Art Isn’t Just Pretty Pictures

There has been much note taking, jottings and diagrams sketched. In an effort to take stock of where the story is I’ve been doing some analysis of what I’ve done so far.

‘But you should probably have done this before you started the first page Cam’ I hear all four of my readers cry from their respective rooftops.

Yes, I probably should but I’ve never written a full book before so I’ll chalk this one down to experience. I’m going through all the different characters and asking myself what they wanted at the start, how has this changed with events up to now and has their overall goal changed. It’s helping shape the next section of the book but also revealing some cracks in the foundations.

SPOILERS

There now follows below some details about the main thrust of the story as far as the book is concerned. If you’re reading all this and planning on actually buying the thing once I get it finished (bless you) then you might want to skip it. Also, if you’re just plain bored of me going on about it then you might want to do the same.

Firstly, my policeman character is the first to discover the returning girl who has been thought to be dead for the last ten years. She actually goes to his house after discovering that her own family home is now an abandoned wreck. Her Mother is back in town, he is perfectly aware of this and yet he doesn’t go to tell her straight away. He actually keeps her locked in his house whilst he goes off to investigate what’s going on down the waterfront in the middle of the night. However, if his one past regret of his career is not finding this girl when she went missing and after telling her Mother that he would, then why exactly is he doing this?

My resolution to this is going to be suspicion. He’s a sceptic on all things alien/paranormal (much more Scully than Mulder) so therefore has a belief that this child isn’t what she says she is. He has a need for control so has to work out for himself what’s going on before the Mother gets involved. There will be a meeting between all off them but not right away. I like the tension of this kid almost being kept in the house against her will and breaking out herself later.

The second main question is why is the Mother even there? She’s not getting her daughter back as she’s been officially considered dead for a decade. She moved away because she grew tired of the persistent rumour floating around town that she’d killed her own daughter. She therefore hates the town and the people so why exactly has she made it back? Morbid curiosity? Regret? A need to reconnect with the past? I currently haven’t made that connection yet and her character is really suffering as a result.

This is only the start of it.

I’ll be note taking for the next few days and aim to get back on the wagon by Monday.

 

 

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With My Knife Hand

I have reached the 20,000 words mark.  Rather conveniently this 20,049 word count has come right at the end of a chapter so it feels really good to stop at a fairly distinct point. I’ve deviated a fair bit from the chapter outline though and I’ve managed to create questions about the story that I had never considered beforehand. Perhaps I’ll take a short pit stop here and run through some of the main story to see where it’s veering of course and needs to be brought back in again.

I started planning for this book in January 2017. I started actually writing it in March. It’s taken just under three months to get to this stage. I’m thinking more and more than the original 75k marker I set for myself at the start might be a stretch for a story which was originally going to be a 90 minute movie. Maybe 60-65k may be more in line. Therefore I can say currently that I’m about a third of the way through and still feel fairly confident about it.  If I get myself in gear a bit more then I reckon a first draft will be up and running at the end of October.

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A Mythological Enemy

The chapter from Hell is over, long live the next one.

Finally I’ve reached the end of a chapter that will probably be first on the list for future rewrites being as I was bored writing it so heck knows how dull it would be for anybody to read. On occasion the fact that I had originally thought of this as a feature film comes through and it results in sections when it all feel a bit too ‘visual’. Whilst this kind of stuff would look great up on screen, perhaps with some music over it, it doesn’t translate well to fiction. Having the character of the missing girl’s Mother return to the house she lived in when her daughter vanished is great in theory. I wanted her to go in thinking that she would connect with happier memories contained within this building. As her time there goes on however she discovers that the building is now in a state of near ruin and is covered in graffiti referencing the fact that most the townspeople had an idea she had killed her own daughter. The word ‘Murderer’ in painted across the front door in red letters.

Now comes the turning point of the story so far. In various dark corners of the house there are patches of what might look at first glance to be spider’s webbing. It contains small stone like pods in it though. Her Daughter, who unknown to her Mother yet has returned, has a small ring of these things just underneath her skin. The chapter kind of snaps into alien stuff fairly quickly.

In fact, here’s what I ended on.

Morag had to leave. She about turned and paced across the landing towards the top of the stairs. She gingerly went back down the steps, taking them as quickly as she could before putting her feet back in the hallway and pacing out of the front door. She navigated her way through the long grass of the front garden before taking a sharp turn out of the gate down the street. She didn’t want to look back any more, she warned this house to be forgotten now. If it crumbled into dust tomorrow, taking everything with it, then she’d need to prepare herself not to care.

In a dark recess under the stairs another pile of dust landed in the webbing below. If anybody had noticed it they would almost certainly have thought it could have been a spider’s web. Perhaps then they would have investigated further and discovered that the web was nothing like the thin, delicate thread of any arachnid. It was thicker and faintly blue. Gathered amongst the network were small, hard, light blue stones. Each of them pulsed and throbbed to an unheard of rhythm. One of the stones then fell from the strand it was held in and landed on the bare wooden floorboards. It then liquefied, oozing outwards as if reaching out for help. Before long it was like a tiny star, arms reaching out and pulling itself along bit by bit.

A second one soon followed.

Well it had to end on some kind of intrigue didn’t it? A woman wandering around a derelict house wasn’t exactly going to provide such kicks.

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All The Way To The Moon.

The end of the difficult chapter, the proper introduction of our alien being and a tap on the shoulder when one character is least expecting it. Chapter ten is now in the book.

Well of course it’s in the book…

…you know what I mean.

I’m currently still messing around with timelines. There’s two in the book covering events from ten years previous and the girl’s initial disappearance and then the present day with her return. I’m using the same characters but flicking back and forth between the two. Sometimes the same character will visit the same location but ten years apart from each other. Certain character’s recollection of past events might differ from what actually happened. I’m trying really hard not to make it a complete mess of confusion but it seems okay so far. I’m trying to lay down markers that determine time such as buildings changing.

We’re up to 17,200 and still knocking on.

In the meantime, a view from the desk. That’s the moon up there somewhere.

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Cactus Water

I did what any sane thinking and responsible person would have done when faced with a slowdown in word count.

I jacked the whole thing in for three days. This included a lot of video games being played and the first episode of the American Gods TV show watched.

It wasn’t writer’s block because I knew where the story was going to go and I could write it but it was reaching a part which was always going to be a difficult job to do. This is the first chapter in which there is something clearly alien in the story. It’s perhaps a bit of a tonal shift to go from matters of guilt and regret over never finding a lost child to getting some kind of creature added to the mix. It has to be right, it has to be handled well and that pressure to pitch it correctly is probably what had me running for the hills.

I actually went back to it today and deleted the opening of the chapter entirely. It was far too inward and just prattled on about what this particular character was thinking all the time rather than what he was doing or where he was going. It did cut off about two hundred words of the total but I’ve since made them up again and then some. It might not be perfect but I feel I’ve gone through the tunnel on this now and the light is shining on the other side.

I’m now on the 16,200 word mark. More shall follow tomorrow.

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Bill Hicks

I was always kind of waiting for this to happen. The doubt has turned up.

It’s the final day of my week off and the words count stands at 15,000. My hope of getting to 20,000 by the end of May seems unlikely. Perhaps I shouldn’t worry too much, it’s not as if I have a publisher breathing down my neck on this. It does however feel a little gutting that I didn’t make it.

Also, I’m asking myself a lot of questions whilst away from my keyboard.

‘Can this story really last for an entire book?’.

‘Are you burning through the good stuff too early?’.

“Is it actually any good?’.
Power through.

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