Closing Time

There comes a moment in your working week when, under the pressure of about 35 things you’d like to do but know are unrealistic, something gives. Before for me it would undoubtedly be the personal stuff that was thrown by the wayside, but this time is going to be different. I know where the finish line is, this year, because I drew it. In previous years I’ve taken work with me and combined it with relaxation. Things are going to be a little less regimented during this Summer.

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A part of it has to do with not knowing what kind of Internet access we’ll have whilst being away, but mostly this is me recognising that my biggest failing possessed by some way is an inability to know when to stop working. Therefore this month will be a process of planning what needs to be done to cover the gaps for four weeks, and if it is successful I’ll repeat this process in February. This then gives me two clear months away from the daily worries concerning writing, and to focus then on Arguto. If this all works out, Issue 2 will be available on February 20th, 2019.

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The idea of a Winter and Summer magazine pleases me, and allows other stuff to happen in the background. It also allows the vital space to insert jobs like writing poetry for contests and editing existing work. All of this is eminently doable in the time-frames assuming I’m smart enough to organise far enough in advance. Right now that means sacrificing the occasional exercise day, but after the adrenaline-fuelled evening I had yesterday with the Football, both mind and body are pretty happy for the break. It isn’t just the mental stuff that needs addressing, after all.

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Tonight’s plan is to get all of the You Tube contents from the last two and a bit months up to date, whilst simultaneously seeing if I can’t schedule the rest of July’s stuff at the same time. If all of THAT gets dealt with the weekend can begin to front load the stuff for the holiday. I’m mindful too that maybe I could do with a short story to publish whilst I’m away, as that feature has become far and away my most popular daily post via Social media. Maybe I could do something holiday-related…

Right, quite enough nattering from me. Time to write the words.

NaNoWriMo :: Day Seven

We’re a week in. Currently I am considerably ahead of schedule: so much so that yesterday I effectively took a day off. I reckon that once I’ve showered and sorted my chores for the evening, I will still have the opportunity to stick some more stuff to the total. In fact, if I’m honest, 20k should be doable by the end of tonight.

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I already know that I’m not stopping at 50k. Already there’s a sense I’ll need about double that total to get to where I want to be. Yesterday on the train I invented a number of plot devices I want to insert into the narrative: a friendship bracelet, a variant on the same cuddly toy given to successive generations of infants, a first edition of a very famous novel. All these things have relevance in the narrative. Now I just need to work out where and when they appear.

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Mostly, it is all going worryingly well 😀

NaNoWriMo :: Day One

Today, I began the way I mean to go on for the next four weeks, by pimping the HELL out of myself just about everywhere. That also meant asking the Writing Gods for a blessing: as I follow a bona fide one of those on Twitter, it was time to chance the collective arm for a thumbs up:

I had to explain the principle, but once that was done, Ian’s thumbs up was an inspiring start, and off I went… except I had already started earlier. However, most of that went out of the window and now there’s a prologue before my opening chapter and after that… well, I realised that if any of this alternative history is going to make sense to my reader, there probably needs to be context first. Here is where I have to thank the guy who taught an Evening Class in creative writing a few years ago, that told me that sometimes, to make your work make sense, you need to pave the way with exposition. However, to make that work in this framework whilst ensuring this doesn’t come from the mouths of characters? My first thought, if this were television, would be to use some kind of public information film. However instead I’m going to rewrite history in increasingly specific terms instead, using the conceit of historical textbooks.

That means that I spent four paragraphs creating a backbone of data that will become the basis for ‘The Condensed Diviner History :: Volume One (Origins and Hypotheses)’ by Professor Archibald Desmond Granger. Granger’s offspring already have a significant part to play in proceedings and it seems appropriate to give the seminal historical reference to the grandfather of one of my supporting cast. It also brings some much needed gravitas to my subject matter: imagining the world that exists in my ‘alternate reality’ is a vital part of getting the detail and tone just right. It helps that I can lose myself in this place for authenticity after all. On that front, I’m employing a technique I use for other writing, which is to assign an actor to each character so I can imagine them reading dialogue. This worked surprisingly well for the Bond fiction and is already paying dividends here.

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That means today’s total’s already well over what I need it to be, but it is likely to change tomorrow as I’ll undoubtedly take the synopsis I wrote and expand it out to cover more specific areas of ‘history’. What this has allowed me to do is establish the city of Inskit which occupies the space that would, in this reality, be St Petersburg. That’s not important immediately but will be later on. For now I’m going to be spending my time in a 21st Century London where Social media was never invented, computers are only used by law enforcement, scientists and the military, and where a country is about to vote on a bill that might condemn a tenth of the population to slavery, and possibly death.

If that’s something that sounds interesting to you? Watch this Space.

NaNoWriMo :: Day -1

Now that my Bond Fiction is officially finished (though not yet completely serialised, see here tomorrow for details) I can turn my attention to more important projects. Starting Tuesday, the first serious stab I’ve ever made at a long-form novel is getting an official reboot, and I’m going to start working on that whilst in tandom there’ll be another 50k’s worth of words on a different subject. For NaNoWriMo 2016 I have invented a new genre (Alternate Historical Superhero) with a story that’s been in my head now for a couple of years. Only now do I have the courage to pull it out of my head and stick it into reality.

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Except, it isn’t just courage pushing me forward this time, but the understanding I needed to be more technically competent to be able to produce this novel in a manner in which I’m happy with. Bond gave me that opportunity, allowed me to flex fiction muscles that had previously never been exercised. That’s not the whole story, however, and for that you’ll need to hope I finally get this to the publication stage. I’m also intending to do a ‘liveblog’ (not in real time, but you get the general idea) of the process, with (hopefully) some insight into how this whole shebang works. Last year I cheated and didn’t go from scratch, but this time the challenge of getting from start to finish is something I’m rather looking forward to.

This piece of music is the prompt to the place where the modern portion of my story will begin, but I realise that it won’t make sense without a fairly lengthy prologue. So, the first task is to do some research, and tomorrow’s Wikipedia pages are already open: the Tarot on my Novel’s cover is very significant, as is the Priestess’ card. However, I’m already getting ahead of myself.

There’s a synopsis, for those of you who might now be interested in this new journey:

‘And so it was written, in the time of Old Gods and New Empire, that a woman was left to die in the Temple at Delphi…’

Detective Sergeant Duncan Jackson’s life is turned upside-down when compelled to save a woman from drowning in the Thames. She’s anything but a stranger: he’s been dreaming about Alexx Francis since his teens. The country stands on the edge of a historic Parliamentary vote, preparing to accept or reject the existence of a group of people who have lived as an oppressed minority for decades, and suddenly Jackson’s forced to confront his true heritage, and that of the woman who becomes his responsibility. In doing so, a second world emerges, told only in whispers and fairy tales since the dawn of modern civilisation…

If that sounds like your cup of tea, I’ll tease you as time goes on. There’s also a fairly substantive musical soundtrack for this one (as has become the norm for my works) and I’ll show you how these work into my processes too.

For now, I’m getting ready to crack on. first thing  Tuesday morning. I look forward to seeing you there.