The Closing of the Year

I don’t recall being this optimistic at a year end for a very long time.

Perhaps it is the understanding that, after many years, death and failure no longer frighten me. What is of greater concern is that I won’t get everything done in the timescales that are available. There needs to be organisation, planning and ultimately sacrifice. It won’t all happen either, and so dealing with disappointment and regret need to be stuck in that mix. For me, tomorrow’s the restart proper on my Novel, and not the picking at it that’s gone on over Christmas. I have a plan for the second half all ready to go, I’ve been taking feedback on Part One from readers. Most importantly, I have a legitimate editor about to read and tell me if this is something they might be interested in preparing for me in anticipation for pitching.

These are exciting times ahead.

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This is the best thing I’ve ever written, the thing I am proudest of, and that I hope will finally allow me to become what I have always wanted to be. I have the ability and confidence not only to finish it, but to make a damn good job of it. I will do the narrative and my characters justice. They have faith in me to do so, too, so much now that they talk to me in sleep or at quiet moments and suggest improvements, make me think of better ways to do things. I am ready to get lost again in the story, and by the end of this month, Chameleon will be complete. I hope you’re looking forward to this journey as much as I am. I’ll see you here bright and early tomorrow… well maybe after a lie in and breakfast. Whatever happens, I’ll be writing tomorrow, and all will be well with the World.

Bring on 2017. I’m ready.

The First 50k

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I took a day off everything else yesterday because I knew, if I put my mind to it, I could finish the first 50k of the Novel. It’s pretty much written itself in the last five days, and I’ve now decided to take a day off looking at it as a work in progress and instead am reading it, like a novel, on my tablet whilst making copious notes of where I’ve contradicted myself. Then, starting Saturday, there will be two days of going from the start and working to the end and re-writing the thing to be more coherent, consistent and to fill in her holes (of which there are already several) Then on Monday? Away we go on Part Two.

I’d hoped to do more sharing of process along the way, but I’ve gotten far too involved in the journey, but that’s not a problem because now I have a month’s worth of alternative blog posts to play with. Let us begin, as seems only right and fair with the unofficial ‘theme song’ for my fiction.

In my imagination, this is the song that plays as the credits play over my fictional TV drama, which is based on the ‘Chameleon’ book. There’s a Baccarat table, at which someone is shuffling a pack of Tarot cards, the backs of which are the symbol of the Euclida (my primary group of protagonists). As each card is turned and laid, the pictures on the Tarot are of the actors and actresses that would play the roles of each ‘character’ as that’s how another of my protagonists both imagines and predicts the future. I’ve currently got Allison (who designed the front cover for Default) making me The Priestess, who is my primary female protagonist, Alexx. That’s how the original idea for this fiction took shape, but I have (amongst other things) a member of my husband’s family to thank for the basic inspiration.

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I’ve long held an interesting the powers of prediction, going back as far as my early 20’s, where my final year project at University was a Radio documentary around the myths and truths of Astrology. When I met my husband, it became apparent that his family has a link to prediction too. One of his Aunts is known as a notable psychic, and has a number of legitimate claims of validity to her name. Her daughter is also known for Tarot readings: I’m not here to either belittle or cast aspersions on them, because I have my own personal experiences of these ladies’ abilities. In fact, it is my one meeting with my husband’s aunt that forms a vital part of the thrust of the narrative. They say you use your own experiences to drive your imagination and they’re totally spot on.

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A lot of the book is wrapped around chance and circumstance, what might be truth and what could be intractable. This has always been a subject that has fascinated me, and it won’t be the last time I explore these themes, but this story has lived and grown in my mind over the process of the last five years. However, the story that now exists in words on a screen is in many places a long way from those original ideas, and has almost effortlessly evolved from one place to another. I’m really rather pleased with what I’ve managed to achieve thus far too, that this narrative is both strong and has a definite forward momentum.

Now, it’s time to take a moment to regroup, before I continue to push forward.

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.