Run for Home

For as many days as it has been possible this week, I’ve dragged myself into the Gym. Amazingly, only on two days has this been about exercise to a point. On the others, I’m there to use the treadmill as a writing tool. 

This is probably going to require some explanation.

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Once upon a time, I’d have real trouble trying to work out how ideas would develop past that first massive burst of creativity. I then developed a means by which I’d use pieces of music effectively as the backgrounds for ‘narrative videos’ that would run in my head, roughly corresponding with the pace and timing of actions that would then be written down. It is the reason why that whenever I now hear ‘Whoops, I Did It Again’ by Britney Spears I don’t think about the music video that accompanies it, but my fanfic-created Bond heroine Ronni Flemmings bursting out of a control room using a chair as a shield and summarily killing Ernst Stavro Blofeld completely by accident.

I’ve ruined a lot of pieces of music this way, but the destruction of meaning is always worthwhile.

Before I got as serious about exercise as I have now become, being on a treadmill with a musical soundtrack used to be the means by which I’d sort out the kinks and holes in narratives. Returning to my novel over this last six weeks has made me grasp that there was no longer the time to do this: suddenly, whenever I’m doing physical stuff it is to meet a target or complete an objective. The simpler days of just walking and thinking have somehow gone amiss. Therefore this week, re-instigating the treadmill as a writing tool required a massive twenty-five track playlist, constructed in chronological order to match my action. Most significantly, none of the music must have been made after 2005.

On Tuesday I went into the Gym, plugged myself in and thirty minutes later had managed to solve three major issues that were holding me back in plot terms. Today, the last quarter of the book is blocked, with each major sequence ready to write. There’s also been a piece of music added, that forms a vital part of the late narrative, section I’ve been frightened to write for over a decade because of the intensely personal nature of the content. It is the means by which I tie past back to present, and remind the female protagonist of the life she once knew but has lost contact with. This track was the crack which burst the dam of writer’s block, once and for all, and I’ve not been able to stop writing since.


Every writer is different: how you maintain focus and drive as individual as eye colour or shoe size. For me, music is at the heart and soul of every piece written. Without it, I would be considerably less than a whole.

I predict a considerable amount of treadmill in my future.

The Last Time

As we head towards the end of the month, things have (on reflection) gone remarkably well. Next month is already well in hand, and there are plans on the table for April too.  However, it is becoming apparent that after yesterday’s post on the Novel, and some quite serious poking of said manuscript both Thursday and today, it won’t be finished by the end of February. In fact, if truth be told, it won’t be anywhere close to being done.

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Rather reassuringly, it has nothing to do with me giving up and losing interest: in fact, quite the opposite is true. What I’ve now discovered is that what was the middle third of the action does not have nearly as much solidity and structure as was first believed. This means that I’m now laying down foundations instead of finishing decoration and placing furniture. As a result, my rather optimistic ‘yeah we can do this in four weeks’ now looks like a complete pack of lies.

It also means that pitching a work that’s not done seems a bit fraudulent, to be honest. So, I think we’ll pass on this one, make this work really solid and special, and then I can read the book I got on how to publish shiz and work from there. Right now, all that matters is to finish something. That’s the goal not yet achieved, the prize that matters personally more than anything else, and with a head full of fuzz as has been the case for the best part of a week thanks to menopausal hormone overload? That really will be an achievement.

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So, next week’s WiP Day will be to get me to 80k with some actual structure. I’m working on the foundations until then. I’ve even altered the counter because honestly, it has to be done. I’m aiming for Easter to get this out to people to read, as in an Alpha Reader kind of way. March 15th is D-Day now, and I’m feeling supremely confident. No really, I am.

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Watch this space. No really, cool stuff is and will happen. There’s no stopping me now 😀

Keep on Running

It is high time we did a NOVEL UPDATE.

As you can see, the words keep going, and as the header shows, we have a NEW COVER for the book. Yesterday, however, during editing, there was a bit of a bump in the road:

The trashing, in the end, has not lost much progress, but I have gone backwards, so the hope today is to work once I’ve written this and then after exercise, and then (again) tonight so when we hit WiP day on Thursday I have a fighting chance of getting well ahead of my goal. Day 15’s plan is 57k but honestly, I need to be closer to 70k if there is any chance of having a successful result. Then I have to be writing a pitch for this thing to see if I have any chance of catching the eye of a publisher.

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What will undoubtedly be a better use of my time is buying the book these guys have written and guaranteeing myself a free one hour pitch, which I’ve now done. However, it will be useful to see if I can do the business without, so I’ll be putting my stuff together at the weekend. Until then, it is time to focus on getting the narrative on a path that seems sensible, sorting out the dialogue, and working to the final word total. Needless to say, I’m still insanely confident this is all gonna get done in the timescale, AND IT IS STILL FUN.

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As long as it stays that way, everything is going to plan…

NaNoWriMo 2017 :: The Beginning

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Okay, people. November’s always been a big month for words in this parish, and 2017 is already shaping up to be the most significant yet in terms of how I do the entire writing gig. I have decided what I’m writing and it is one of the many Works in Progress that has existed on my hard drive for some time. In fact, I even got as far as making a book cover and a lovely Twitter synopsis, both of which will be retooled along with the original narrative. Having read through all that I have to begin with yesterday, to say I’m excited is an understatement.


For me, the biggest single problem that occurs in a NaNo ‘month’ is the conviction of an idea from inception to completion. This time around, I’m tackling a complete plot (with the exception of a hole in the denouement) and updating my writing style, plus adding some vital background and depth along the way. Getting to 50k this year, therefore, is of largely secondary significance to having a working and complete draft on completion. That’s my bigger aim: finally, finish a piece that I feel is one of the strongest narratively that I have ever produced, then set about seeing if I can’t get someone to want to publish it.

So I can devote 100% attention to this task, I’m taking November off from the Book of the Month project and the various stuff that normally takes place. However, there will be content here for the whole 30 days, with a subsidiary project that’s already in the planning stage. If you follow me on social media, I’ll be mentioning it as time goes on, but it is being created in the hope that I can give back to the Community that has helped me to fulfil my own potential as a writer in the last few years.

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In the buildup to November 1st, I’ll be sharing some of the thoughts I’ve had on this process, and there’ll be regular writing updates throughout November itself. If you want a more personalised view on how things are going, here’s a reminder that my personal site exists and that I’m far more likely to swear and challenge your traditional notions of sexuality there than anywhere else.

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Origins

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.

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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.

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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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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.

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