Tag Archives: inspiration

Aniki

As if by some strange miracle I actually managed to get to work on the book before 10am this morning so had a good blast at it for a couple of hours. I’ll need to go and wash the breakfast dishes eventually but I’m now over 34,000 words. At around the 25,000 mark I was thinking this story might peg out before the 55-60,000 I wanted to get to. Now, with about 20,000 to go, I’m worried I won’t be able to wrap it up in time. It’s a much happier problem to have though.

I’m becoming more and more concerned with how I’m handling time shifts in the story. It’s very much a 50/50 split between the events of ten years previous and the girl’s initial disappearance and what happens after her return. It’s sometimes feels hard to piece all this together without seeming like it’s terribly confusing being as it features the same characters. I’m finding myself laying down markers with scenery and parts of the actual town itself changing. Heck knows if this is working or not.

But progress is good and I’m feeling a ton better about it than I was even a month ago.

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Melancholic Communion

The characters are beginning to morph.

Even after all the notes I made this time last year about each and every character in this thing I’m finding that the more I write the more they’re changing. A good example would be the girl who actually goes missing.

Originally, throughout all the planning stages, this character was always ten years old. It seemed like a good number and it was actually the age that my son was at the time. As a result of that it seemed really easy to write. As I’ve got further along the word count though I’ve realised that her actions and mannerisms seem to make her that little bit older. One of the main police investigations into her vanishing is the theory that she’s gone off to meet a boy against her Mother’s wishes. Ten years old would seem rather young for this sort of thing to happen, fourteen would make a lot more sense.

So I’m keeping going for the meantime but it’s painfully obvious in the structure currently that her character has altered halfway through. It’ll end up being one of the main things I’ll be smoothing out when the time comes for rewrites.

We stand at 33500 words.

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Lightsaber Nunchucks

Writing a blog about writing a book is difficult to keep interesting at the best of times. When progress on aforementioned book has ground to a halt in recent months then it’s even harder. The noise of Christmas and New Year has now faded in the rear view mirror and I’ve suddenly became very much aware that it was one year ago since I started writing the basic outline and notes for the story. The actual task of putting words on the page was started in March and I made fairly steady progress over the summer months. Then in October, once the nights had started drawing in, I reached a part of the story in which the whole thing seemed to suddenly run out of steam. It’s been hard picking back up after that and I’ve constantly been saying to myself that I’ll return to it. That return keeps getting shoved back.

Reading what I have so far confirms the worst fear that it’s 30,000 words of utter nonsense. It’s a combination of small town Scotland, aliens, child abduction and people not quite seeming what they are. If that sounds like it shouldn’t hang together well then rest assured that at this current moment you are indeed correct. The overwhelming feeling is that even if I do charge forward and reach the end then the editing job to get it anywhere near watertight at the end is massive.

I seem to have spent the first two weeks of 2018 taking up other projects separate from the book which seems like a subliminal effort to avoid actually doing anything about the thing. I’ll write about video games over on Dragon In The Castle and I’ve had the mad notion to start a printed games fanzine. I’m also still involved in the pro wrestling podcast called Conquistabores. I’ve also had the pleasure of being invited up to Edinburgh on a fairly regular basis to talk about Doctor Who on another podcast called The Polis Box.

These things are all great fun and I look forward to participating in them. The strange thing is that I’m struggling most with the one that I’m solely responsible for. It seems just that little bit uphill at the moment and the hope is that I find a thread sometimes soon and carry on. I have a feeling that once I hit a rich vein then it’ll become far easier.

 

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Content Generator

If I had a publisher then they’d probably be yelling at me down the phone right now. They would tell me to put down the car wash sponge as the car was only a little bit dirty and it’s about to rain anyway. They would tell me to stop filing my nails down. They would tell me that the list of video games I have made that I think need completed by the end of 2017 isn’t really the most important thing in my life right now.

There would then follow a long talk about how it’s coming along gradually and that the chapter I was having so much trouble with has now been finished. The completion has brought with it a complete red herring as far as the police officer’s investigation is concerned and a brand new character who will only remain in the story for another chapter at the most.

We’d then move onto how the final phase of the book currently tilts between and ending which will be fun to write but doesn’t make much sense and another which is the polar opposite.

Then we’d laugh and laugh.

Promising to do this all again next week before hanging up.

I’m quite glad at this stage that I don’t have a publisher.

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The List At The End Of The Universe

Blame it on getting past the halfway marker on the book but I’ve been thinking a whole lot about endings recently. A chain of thought that led from the ending of the book and spanned further outwards into how everything ends, eventually stopping in one form or another. Then I began to think about ideas and projects of my own.

It’s said that Stanley Kubrick only made one film of each genre. Whilst I’ve had a look at his filmography and that statement isn’t completely accurate there is a tendency to regard his main cannon of movies cornerstones in their particular field. His Science fiction movie was 2001, his horror The Shining, his comedy Dr Strangelove and hell knows what Eyes Wide Shut was going to be.

I have no idea if this will be the only book I ever write. For something that I felt like doing just to give it a go it’s going fairly well. Any thought that I’d have it done by the time the clocks go back has pretty much faded right now though. If it is the first and last book I ever write then at least I can say I’ve written one.

This in turn got me thinking about all the small, one time projects I could do and then never make another one of that particular type again. Then I got down to writing a list.

1X Short Film.

When I was in college one of my tutors encouraged us to write a list at the start of each week with what you hoped to achieve. He added that he always put something at the top that either you’d already done or were close to doing so you could cross it off straight away and have a psychological boost right off the bat. This would be mine. Already done, made and screened. One day I’ll stop banging on about it.

1X Feature Film

Still working on this one, script have been done but nothing picked up yet.

1X Book

Currently in progress.

1X Comic Book.

I’ve always had a few ideas kicking about for a comic book actually but I cannot draw to save my life so I’d need somebody who could.

1X Album

Once again I cannot play any musical instruments at all but about a year ago I went round to a friend’s house who certainly can. We had a system running where I hummed stuff and he translated it into guitar and drums. It was a really fun day and we had something akin to a song by the time we were done. The idea of just making one album or strange bleeps and bloops, never playing it life in any way and only producing about three physical copies of it just appeals to me.

1X Radio Play.

Something creepy with sound. Quite doable on a really low budget, at home with decent microphones too.

1X Published Short Story.

In a magazine or something along those lines.

1X Video game.

Probably something with a bit of story to it especially as I’m really only able to make text adventures right now.

1X Any of the above but under the banner of Doctor Who

Because the day I get to write ‘TARDIS lands’ I will truly have to stop myself from flipping out.

Working through this list I feel I could die a happy man. Probably quite poor but still happy.

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Good People Making Cool Things

The more I’ve got into writing this book the more I’ve began to appreciate and be inspired by others online who are trying to get their dreams and ideas into reality. I’ve usually never met these people (but would certainly try and say hello if I ever did) but their individual stories do remind me that, when ploughing through another thousand words or so, there might just be something really special at the end of all of this. For the last few weeks I’ve been thoroughly addicted to watching Games As Lit 101 on YouTube in which Samuel Gronseth casts a critical eye over interactive media. I’d been watching a lot of his videos (drawn in mostly be his remarkable analysis of Bioshock) when his latest video describing his personal circumstances landed.

Rather than waffle on about it myself I’ll just put the video right here.

Once again I’ve never met Samuel nor ever spoken to him but I wanted to go right ahead and sign up to his Patreon because I really enjoy what he’s doing and want to help him advance it to the stage that he obviously reckons he can. There have been so many times whilst watching his videos that he’s introduced completely new ideas regarding games I long since thought I knew everything about.

I’ve signed up to $4 a month which isn’t a huge amount (does four bucks buy you a coffee and doughnut over that side of the Atlantic these days?) but I hope it goes some way to getting to his target. If you like video games and don’t just regard them as junk, throw away entertainment then I’d certainly recommend chucking Samuel some money so he can expand his show and bring his ideas to life.

Also, he likes cats so that’s an automatic thumbs up from me.

Now I need to go and write more words.

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All Things Legendary

I went for lunch with a work colleague yesterday and happened upon this poster in the bookshop we passed by.

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I’ve never been to Fisher Street Galleries before yet I know where Fisher Street is so that’s not a big problem. I work during the day most Mondays in Carlisle so it would be fairly easy to just take a change of clothes, grab something to eat somewhere and pitch up at 7pm. My car parking permit runs 24 hours so that’s not really a problem either.

The £35 is affordable.

I’m not sure if they’d want me turning up with half a novel written and a few notes though. I’m liking it from the perspective of meeting other writers for a five weeks spell. The last time I did something similar to this was when I was in school years ago (I think I was about 17-18) and it was something of a disaster. Obviously I’m a grizzled 36 year old now with stubble and everything.

I’m currently mulling this one over.

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Tree Surgery In The Sun

Yes, I’d say knocking off the Facebook and Twitter links on my taskbar after many months of them being there has certainly been a very positive step. The problem I had was that I would probably get a tiny chunk of 100 words done, find it really easy to snap back to Chrome, click on Facebook, watch a video of a cat trying to balance on a dog’s head, go onto Twitter and find that people are moaning about Doctor Who again before going back to repeat this process a few times over. I’d usually finally give up once 500 words had been put down of an evening.

Social media is a fine thing but it doesn’t half suck up time and kill productivity. Part of me is considering leaving both of them alone for a while. At least with Instagram I need to be on my phone for it so I’m usually out and about anyway when I need to open that.

As a result of knocking this on the head I’ve managed to get 2000 words done today. Yes, two thousand! This might not seem like much to most but it’s actually the most productive day as far as word count goes on this book I’ve had since starting the whole thing in early March.

I have hit a little bit of a crossroads for today though. Part of me wants to carry on and maybe even make it 3000. The other half of me wants to jack it in for the day and watch some wrestling tonight and not feel guilty about doing so.

It’s 5:30pm here now, my dinner is in the oven so I’ll probably have to make a call on that soon.

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Thank You Eddie

All writers have faced some kind of struggle as they face getting book, script, poem, play or comic off the ground. The process of making an idea in the head into something an audience can see, read or hear is littered with many obstacles. As the saying goes, if it were easy then everybody would do it.

If you haven’t been reading this blog for long then you might be unaware of a couple of details. Firstly, I am not a professional writer. At no point have I made a dime out of writing despite that being the aim for the future. I have written a short film that was shown in festivals around Europe, I have written feature film scripts that were never picked up and I have penned a play that was performed locally. At no point during any of this has any cash come my way.  I am not after multi millions pouring into the account every month. I have no desire to drive a flash car or have a swimming pool. If I could make a comfortable living just making stuff up with words then I’d be a happy man. Currently though I’m in the position when the day job of working in an opticians gains me a pay cheque at the end of the month. Writing is, at this moment in time, something I do for kicks.

On very odd occasions I often think about just jacking in this whole process of piling up word counts and just get on with ‘real life’. A certain sensation of all this being a monumental waste of time starts eating at me.

Then I usually get something brought to my attention that completely reminds me of why I’m still trying to do this. My interest in professional wrestling meant that this video of Eddie Dennis popped up in my timeline when it was released onto the internet a couple of weeks back. Until then Eddie was a headteacher for the most part and a part time wrestler. Now he’s making the brave decision to quit teaching and become a wrestler full time.

Here’s the video in full so you can see what it’s all about.

I have to admit that I haven’t seen Eddie Dennis wrestle (although I’m looking to change that soon) but I instantly found a common theme in this video. Even if you have no interest in wrestling at all the story of one man leaving behind his usual job for a shot at something he’s been dreaming about for years still has an impact.

So a quick thank you to Eddie Dennis. You might not have realised it but a wrestler from Wales has certainly provided help and inspiration to a writer from the South of Scotland.

You can actually read all about Eddie’s journey over on his own WordPress blog right here.

I wish him the very best of luck.

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Support Good People Doing Good Things

Nothing good ever comes easy.

This includes ideas.

It’s one thing to have an idea, to mull it over in the mind and keep refining it but the hard part is going through the process to take it from a single thought all the way to an actual ‘thing’ that people can watch, read or listen to. It takes a hell of a lot of effort in all cases and I strongly admire anybody who gets to their own individual finish line.

One such example happened a couple of weeks ago when I attended The Source Cafe in Carlisle for the double album launch from two local bands The Unsung and We Are Quasars. I’ll have to add some disclosure here and say that I’ve worked with Craig from The Unsung for a good few years now. Both bands actually had a gig at The Old Fire Station in Carlisle back in November. I was at that one too and both were sounding really good back then but the albums were still being worked on and tweaked at that stage. Tonight they were ready to go as evidenced by the pile of CDs on the merch table on the way in.

You should buy both albums. I know you’re probably thinking that I’m bound to say that because I know The Unsung. The truth is that I was always going to buy their album and We Are Quasars as well because I enjoyed listening to them so much back in November. The added bit to all this is the fact that both albums are brilliant and are well worth your time and money even if you’re not from Carlisle and don’t know anybody in either band. They stand solid in their own right. The Unsung make melodic music with a certain darker edge. They remind me a lot of Interpol and I mean that as a surefire complement. because I love Interpol. We Are Quasars sound a little bit like Muse before they became too concerned with how much stadium they could fit into their stadium rock. There’s a vein of anger floating through their songs. Not all out firing rage but the calculated, fine needle type.

You can listen to The Unsung here and We Are Quasars here. I suggest you do.

Why am I telling you all of this is a blog about writing? Well here’s the crossover. As I stood listening to both bands in a room which seemed to be getting hotter and hotter with each passing minute (the insulation is good for soundproofing but maybe not so great for getting any air into the place) a thought smashed into my head. Here’s two groups of people who have taken sounds that were raw and incomplete, put them together, arranged them and recorded them. Here they were, a few months later, playing the final versions and selling the physical result. Forget turning lead into gold, this is alchemy.

I was having a bit of a tough time with the book. The flow wasn’t quite there and nothing was really coming together. Not only was the music good, the company fantastic but it was also an evening when inspiration walked up to me and smacked me in the head the friendly kind of way. This collection of strange goings on and stranger people can be blended together and eventually there will be a final result for people to read. Regardless of the format it’s a very similar process behind it. If you’ve made an idea exist for everybody else to see then you deserve all the credit.

‘Support good people making good things’.

So I get back to the book.

 

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