The No. 1 Song in Heaven

This week has been the most important in some time.


The last time I edited something this significant it was fanfiction. I’ve never found the means previously to overcome individual inertia and have faith in my own narrative before but here we are, probably about a third of the way through. I might not end up at 120k but it feels that way right now, with absolutely tons of stuff cut away from the original plot. The problem now, however, is we are into the story-light territory which always stopped any real progress.

However, this time around, I know exactly where things need to go.

The soundtrack method, which got me through both Bondfics, has been employed here to stellar effect. It has become the means by which I saturate myself in narrative progression, and therefore don’t panic when a place is reached where it doesn’t exist. It also provides the opportunity for existing narrative structure to evolve, as has been the case over the last couple of days. The pictures in my head now exactly match the words on the page, and that means there is an overriding confidence that this isn’t simply the right path, but the best path.

I’ve reached a significant point in the story today: my protagonist is finally in a position to live alone, without supervision, but is unaware that her life cannot be as easily dictated, especially with the amount of emotional and physical baggage she carries. The next day or so will set up a couple of important set pieces. One has this a-ha song as a background, another is written with Duran Duran as the constant. These songs have absolutely no relevance to the action, in both cases. They are there to make things happen in my head, and it works.

There’s also an important point to make: the World, as you and I know it, ceases to exist in this narrative after 2005. That means all my musical choices are at or before that point, to allow me an additional means of getting inside the head of my protagonist. There’s another twist to this too: all of it is written in the first person, which I have found incredibly difficult to get my head around. However, that issue was addressed midweek and suddenly this seems like the most normal and correct form that’s ever existed. It has to be first person for a very good reason, too, but all that is revealed in time.

For now, I’m having a cuppa, making myself some lunch and then it will be 50k done before I consider stopping again. The chances are there’ll be a lot more words than that, but I’m trying not to let the domestic side of life slip completely into ruin. However, it would not be a lie to state that this is one of the most enjoyable things I have done for many years. The satisfaction gained from it is enormous, and the end result will, I know, be something I am immensely proud of. That’s why I began this journey, after all.

Making Your Mind Up


The novel editing really started to work when I fixed my writing playlist. The thing is 25 tracks, hour and forty-one minutes of music that is now constructed as an accompaniment to my narrative framework. Having that playing as a constant background has given my mind the opportunity to ‘live’ in this imagined Universe for a week or so. With that has emerged the nerve to edit out increasing portions of sub-standard or largely unnecessary dialogue. The result when dead wood is removed remains hugely satisfying

There’s also been a fair bit of addition too: now 25,000 words are done, I’ll go back tonight and have a read through, to make sure my narrative voice is consistent. After that, we have a genuine impetus going forward, and I’ll see you back here on Friday with an update because nothing else really matters right now. This task has been holding me back, quite literally for years, and to be moving forward with it now is beyond satisfying.

Right, that’s quite enough talking. TIME TO WRITE.

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life


Hyperbole is a wonderful word. It sounds like a leisure destination but in reality is the ultimate in overstatement. It gets thrown around a lot of late too, because people have become far more theatrical and expressive in both praise and condemnation. I read a testimonial yesterday which described a particular product as

“The single most effective social advertising platform in existence.”

which, if you don’t mind me saying, is a pile of utter bollocks. It does look good when you’re attempting to sucker the gullible into buying your product. Making anything appear indispensable, however important you believe both it and you are, remains a professional advantage. It’s hyperbole on a microcosmic scale, creating significance from the mundane. However, in a world where individual perception matters so very much more than it ever did because everybody is watching, this definition can hurt. If it matters to YOU, then that should be enough, but rarely is.

We all like to be loved, and everybody would hope to be considered unique.


Writing saved me. This is neither an exaggerated claim or an overstatement. For a period of approximately 18 months, writing prevented me from taking my own life. It allowed the means by which, coupled with a virtual world and my own psyche, I was able to rationalise a justification for being worthwhile as a person. I’d drift close to the edge and then young children and husband would remind me that there were reasons to remain. Friends would reach out and point out that I was important, helpful, that my words had merit. In the darkest nights where I couldn’t sleep and felt totally devolved from existence, I wrote about attempting suicide. Those words remain and, over a decade on, I have revived them with intent to finish the work.

That extended sequence forms a part of the novel I first began back in 2001, after my son was born, which has been picked at and prodded ever since. It’s never been finished because, I now realise, there’s a phenomenal amount of pain wrapped around the idea. Rationalising what I went through and going back to it remains difficult, but this week I will pull out original manuscript and do just that. I feel I owe it to myself to challenge this period head on, not shirk from the state I was in and do something positive with what was, in effect, one of the most negative and damaging portions of my life. I effectively created a world where a broken person became the heroine, and found her happy ending.

Bringing positives out of this has proved difficult until this point, because I have simply not possessed the tools required to deal with the baggage that exists around those passages. Finally however, this year has bought a measure of emotional maturity which I feel means the time is right to be truthful: there’s been plenty of attempts to restart this narrative since it began, but never the honesty within to admit the truth behind this process. Now I can (and I have) lay those cards on the table, all the other poor metaphors can also be re-written and cast aside for good. The story, I believe, is incredibly sound. It is time to prove that, once and for all.


I’ve placed a notional time limit on this re-write of three months, which includes the fact I’m working on NaNoWriMo solidly in November. Now I’ve overcome the psychological barrier of admitting its significance in public, it is a far easier road to travel. I’ll have a clearer picture by the end of September of whether this is an underestimation or not, but for now this is where my long form writing career began. I’ll share more details of what MMXCI entails in the weeks that follow, but for now I can tell you I tried to make a book cover for it a while ago and failed in what I wanted to do. The tag-line however is solid.

Once I have the real cover set in my head, I’ll know I’m truly in the correct mindset to finish the journey.


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