Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

I Can’t Help You With That Embarrassing Problem, I’m Afraid

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Last month’s Teens Can Write, Too! Blog Chain was excellent, very fun, and I couldn’t wait  for this month’s. Yesterday’s post was by Miriam Joy at A Farewell To Sanity and before that, Kirsten at Kirsten Writes! Both of whom have written really entertaining posts with some hilarious, and sometimes baffling search terms involved.

So, I am afraid to say that I don’t have nearly as many entertaining search terms. Mostly anyone who finds my blog via a search engine seems to type in entries such as ‘eat sleep write repeat’ or ‘felicity-zara stewart wordpress’, which all in all are pretty likely to redirect here somewhere along the line. Yet because of this, when strange search terms do come along, I tend to notice it quite quickly.

The first strange term was quite an early one, and while it does make sense in context, it’s far more entertaining out of it. One visitor in particular wanted to find details on;

‘Patrick Bateman lifestyle’ 

Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment that my blog is a handy all-in-one guide on how to live life as a psychopathic Yuppie who does unmentionable things to women by way of starving rats. But if it was, then I can certainly see why this search would yield results.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), my blog isn’t an all-in-one guide on how to live like a psychopathic Yuppie at all. It is but a humble writing blog, you won’t find that much torture and misogyny here (or at least not intentionally). My apologies to whoever managed to find my blog while obviously searching for something much more visceral, though; I have a feeling that reading about the writing pursuits of a certain 19-year-old aspiring author isn’t exactly what they were going for with that one. This review might prove useful, though.

The next is more than a little odd, and possibly inappropriate, too. Cover your eyes, kiddies;

‘Balls sleeping accidentally exposed’

I …  don’t have anything witty to say about this one off the top of my head, as every time I read it, it seems to make less sense. I just don’t understand this search term.

What I mean to say is; dear visitor, I am very sorry to hear about your embarrassing predicament, even though I can quite honestly say I have never found myself in such a position. This is primarily because I lack male genitalia, but also … well, no, actually, it is just because I’m a girl.

The strangest part about this search term, however, is that I really have no idea how it relates to my blog. I’ve never posted tips on how to avoid this issue, having never suffered from it myself, and in living memory, I’ve never written about anything dealing with it, either. Until today, I can’t even remember whether the word ‘balls’ appears on this blog (maybe in a quote, I’m not sure). Okay, so that book review might have had something to do with it … somewhere along the line? Very, very vaguely connecting point A (the search term) to point B (the review) is the underlining fact that the book in question is ‘about’ the porn industry. That said, I doubt exposure is a worry in said industry. More the whole point.

Next up, we have;

‘Nanowrimo cannibalism’

I swear, you couldn’t make these up.

I mean, what in the heck is NaNoWriMo cannibalism? Oh, yes, today I decided that I was going to live on a healthy, and somewhat sustainable diet of human body parts while writing like a maniac. Is that it? Or … the … you know what? I just can’t get my head around this one at all. It pains me to say this, but I’m not writing about cannibalism for this year’s NaNoWriMo (at least not yet), although I have encountered a few characters who have made cannibalism a part of their lifestyle.

And finally,

‘M love a’

Probably the most baffling one yet. As in, I don’t even have a book review (because, yes, my oddest search terms have all related to my book reviews) to link this one to, or understand what it is that this person was actually trying to ask, let alone what they were trying to find.

Honestly. I don’t think I could even guess at what m loving a actually pertains to, unless it’s some kind of special code, or initials. Could be that ‘Mia love Anthony’ … or ‘meerkat love ants’? Yes. This search term is really that strange to me.

So my take on this? The people who reach my blog via search engine are either psychopaths, people with extremely obtrusive genitals or cannibals.

I also have a feeling that several of my visitors were sorely disappointed when they searched for ‘Jannah Reid’ most likely in the hope of hitting on one of the websites included in the 90% that are porn sites. Don’t ask how I know that. It could be why I’ve been getting some rather strange notifications on my computer as of late, though …

These are probably the most notable results I’ve … well … noticed, but some worthy mentions go to;

‘Where do jackals sleep’ – I couldn’t honestly tell you. I might be able to tell you where they lie, though. My apologies, that was absolutely terrible … this blog isn’t ideal for nature enthusiasts.

‘Hunter S. Thompson sleep’ –   not really sure what they were getting at with this one, not surprised they ended up here, though.

‘Eat write or die’ – well, that’s quite an interesting form of self discipline. I don’t doubt that it gets results.

‘Writing and droning’ – how nice of you to point out that this is what I do most of the time.

‘4 storey freefall’ – something I can help you with, dear visitor! I’m not sure how the 4 storey part relates, though. But if you want to know about someone falling at least 1,000 feet, I’m your girl.

So, there you have it; the weird and sometimes wonderful world of my stats page. As a part of the blog chain this month, a quick NaNoWriMo update;

I hit 50k late on Thursday evening. I’m nowhere near done with my story, though. Actually, I don’t want to be done with it; I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been struggling to even get 14k done over the weekend, but this has much more to do with time than it does my novel. So right now, I’m sitting on 66k and barely halfway through, in love with even the characters who are despicable human beings, and not looking forward to the end because … damn it, I just don’t want to say goodbye. I guess that’s what editing is for, though …

So that’s me punching in and out for the month! I urge you all to check out the following blogs, as they’ll all be coming up with some excellent posts, with far more interesting and amusing search terms than mine, throughout the course of this month!

November 5th —http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com/– Kirsten Writes!

November 6th — http://delorfinde.wordpress.com – A Farewell To Sanity

[You Are Here] November 7th — https://thelitjunkie.wordpress.com – Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat

November 8th — http://alohathemuse.wordpress.com – Embracing Insanity

November 9th — http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com/ – Novel Journeys

November 10th —- http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com/ – Red Herring Online

November 11th — http://taystapeinc.wordpress.com – Tay’s Tape

November 12th — http://herebefaries.wordpress.com/ – The Land of Man-Eating Pixies

November 13th – http://randominmind.wordpress.com – Random On My Mind!

November 14th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/ – This Page Intentionally Left Blank

November 15th — http://herestous.wordpress.com – Here’s To Us

November 16th— http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com –  The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

November 17th — http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com – Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for the next month’s chain)

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A Tentative Excerpt from Free Fall

I’m not going to lie, I’m normally very cagey about what I post with regards to NaNoWriMo. Most of the time, whatever I do share, in terms of excerpts, can already be found on my NaNoWriMo profile, under the Novel Info. These are, of course, the only excerpts I feel somewhat confident in sharing. They are also, usually, the first part of the first chapter, or something to that effect. So, guess what I’m going to be posting here?

I have other reasons for this, though. The main reason this year is the difficulty I have in trying to find an all-ages-appropriate excerpt, because there always seems to be something with me. Anything. If I was a director, I’d be notorious for getting my films an 18 certificate or above, I’m almost sure of it, and my novels, I will admit, have this tendency to go a similar way. This year, this is especially prevalent. More so than any year before, and most of my novel thus far has been laced with … well, we’ll call them ‘literary nasties’ shall we?

So yes, indeed, this is the excerpt from my profile, possibly with more to come as the month goes on, however, this is entirely dependent on 1. my cumulative word count at any time and 2. whether or not I feel it’s appropriate. I’m also doing this, somewhat, to see if I can clear my name, perhaps? What I mean is that I don’t think that this excerpt is terrible, but alongside the rest of the novel, it needs work. I like it better than some of the things I’ve written, which says a lot, considering this was a part of what I wrote on the first day … and the general consensus seems to be that writing 17,000 words in a day cannot possibly yield results.

I’ll leave that up to you to decide, however. Critique, criticize, something else beginning with C here and feel free to rip this to shreds if you do so desire!

“Courtney smiles at the woman opposite, wearing nothing but a satin gown, one elbow resting on the counter top while she sips her coffee the way she’s always liked it: black. Her short, blond hair is a mess, poker-straight layers curling at the ends, at the edges, the bottom layer falling in soft waves. Every morning, and he knows this because he’s watched her do it, still feigning sleep, she gets up a half-hour earlier than he does to put on a thin layer of make-up, the layer she’s wearing now. Her second skin. The only face she wants him to know, a fake beauty that he can wake up to every morning.

Her nails, manicured, on her free hand, they trawl through her hair, feeling for split and damaged ends, the ones she cuts off after she colors. She could almost look as though she doesn’t quite know where she is, as though the world is a new, foreign experience for her, every morning waking up to the early noise of a city just taking its first steps. Taxi cabs and cars stuck in traffic. A crash that almost happens, but doesn’t. She uses her free hand to pull her robe back onto her right shoulder, then to check her cell phone resting at the edge of the counter. She purses her lips, takes another sip of coffee, and says nothing.

She could be any other girl in the city, looking this way, only Courtney doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want her to think that there are a million others like her, even though this is a cruel truth that both of them know. It’s why she bleaches her hair lighter than the rest of them. It’s why she tries to make sure she’s the best dressed at every work function, every dinner party. Every time they go out for sushi, she goes the extra mile. And he loves her for it.

Courtney’s tie hangs loose about his neck, silver-gray, looking almost as though it’s attached to his pinstripe white shirt. Some object, some accessory, that doesn’t move. A different tie for every day of the week, a new appendage that flaps around while he looks for more coffee grounds, while he offers to cook the bacon, Monday morning’s treat that Alison insists he cut every last sliver of fat from. Most days, she leaves it there in the middle of the plate, not as an insult, but because she just can’t take the risk. Because just sniffing it piles on calories.

He runs a hand along his shaved, stinging face. He checks for stubble. He knows there’s an ingrown hair or two, but he can’t do anything about it. This is something he realizes as he checks his watch. His hair is dry, now, combed flat, not blown dry. His pants are neatly ironed with the creases perfect, meticulous, like some invisible housekeeper did it in the middle of the night, rather than him doing it, in the evening before he slides into bed. All part of the same routine. He doesn’t quite know why it is that they keep doing this same thing, over and over again, but the fact remains that they do, and he doesn’t see sense in refusing to go along with it; they have a good life. Whenever things start to seem wrong, this is what he tells himself.

Whenever things start to go wrong, this is all a part of what Courtney thinks to himself. Death and destruction in the news once again. Gunshots. Sirens. Things he knows he’ll end up dealing with in the morning, in the evening, whenever he gets that call. If he’s not due to do it, he sits behind the same desk all day and files the same paperwork, trying to remember a time when his life wasn’t made up of the same routines. As a kid, all he did was stare at the television screen. He’s still staring at it, only now, it’s a pile of papers that need to be signed, or the raw ingredients he needs to cook for when the girl, the blond, Alison, gets home from work late, or the pants he needs to iron before he goes to sleep, or his girlfriend waiting for him in bed. Do something too many times, and it all becomes a part of the same ongoing routine.

When she’s done with her coffee, Alison gets to her feet, hopping off the high stool with the gown fluttering around her thighs. Courtney, he finds it difficult to care about it anymore, but then he reminds himself who he’s looking at. Alison. It almost seems impossible for him not to love her, he’s been doing it for so long.

The two of them, Courtney and Alison, they’ve been living in the same co-op building, the same apartment, for a decade. They’ve had the same décor since 2001; the same off-white that never dates or goes out of fashion. The two of them, they’d like to live in a home that’s on the cutting edge of the latest trends, but the fact of the matter is, they have better things to spend their money on. A cabinet behind the dining table displays an array of vintage wines, spirits matured for half a century or more. They live on a diet that, over the years, has come to cost more than the rent on the place. They try to eat out more times a week than they eat in, so Courtney knows which days he’s going to be preparing a meal, and when they do eat out, it’s never takeaway or pizza. Sometimes this is all Courtney wants.

Courtney and Alison, they’re both the ailing product of a world raised by pop culture. A world that refused to look on in shock and awe, and instead either turned away or joined in, aware of how the depraved were now the center of attention. In a world where indecent exposure and lewd behavior became common practice. After Courtney turned seventeen, he stepped into this world and now he can’t get out. He can’t escape it. He grew up in a decade of unrest and dissatisfaction, where he never could see why everyone was so distracted by their finances. Where he never wanted for anything, except his parents.”

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Filed under Excerpts & Short Stories, NaNoWriMo

Free Fall Fridays #3


So, first of all, my apologies for the absolute lack of posts recently. Things have been getting a little crazy in the run up to NaNo, and since the start … and for the time being, they seemed to have cooled off, at least a little. In part, this has been very much my own fault. I don’t know when I decided that I’m crazy, but somewhere along the line, I resolved to write 50,000 words in 3 days. so, I’ll start off by  saying this:

I can’t feel my rear end or my wrists. There, I said it.

Moving on. I have quite a bit to say about the first three days of NaNoWriMo, the first being that it feels more like three weeks than three days to me. It’s a strange sensation that I’ve never experienced while NaNoing before, although this might just be due to my crazy goal. Similarly, I’m really feeling the passage of time slipping by in my novel in a way I never expected it to. I’m getting the same feeling writing it as I get when I’m reading a novel I enjoy; I want to press on, read or write further, but doing so means I get closer and closer to the end all the time, and this is something I really don’t want to happen. These characters, for some reason, I just don’t want to leave them behind at the end, which kind of relates to my next point. That I’m absolutely terrified about what is going to happen when I hit the 100k – 120k mark.

I’m a little bit in love with Free Fall, more than I thought I might be in the end. My initial plan was that, once I was done writing it, I’d either revert back to writing Strictly Business or  move on to a new project that I haven’t planned at all. But I just don’t want to stop writing Free Fall. I know I’m going to have to, eventually, but I’m scared of that happening.

Courtney hasn’t turned out exactly the way I’d planned him, but I’m finding that I’m really connecting with him, however warped that sounds. The entire novel is supposed to be his downward spiral, and  today especially, I’m really feeling this happening. Perhaps this is why I’m so apprehensive about what happens next, but it really feels as though things are starting to fall apart; there’s a sense that Courtney just wants to go back to the beginning, to the way things were, but of course, this cannot happen. Otherwise where would the story be? That said, I am tempted to write a ‘prequel’ of sorts that won’t be included in the end product, just for my own sanity/satiation. It’s not just Courtney, though. I’ve felt a little bit sad and a lot more like wallowing in my own sadness every time I’ve come to the end of every short story thus far, like I just can’t bear to do this but have to. It’s a good feeling, if depressing, because simply put, it means I’m engaging with the story, which was something I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do.

What else … oh, yes, strange things are happening in the world of my novel, too. Normally, I have to plan out every twist, and yet something revealed itself quite early in the day today that was just too good to pass up. These stories weren’t supposed to be linked quite so explicitly, not because it wouldn’t work, but mostly because I didn’t think I had it in me to link characters from one story to another and so on. As it turns out, the story I was most worried about writing has probably been the easiest to write thus far.

Anyway, I’m very, very conscious of the  fact that I’m gushing about this. I’m on something of a high at present, and I’m sure that it’s showing, either in my terrible sentence structure throughout this post, or because the only negative thing I’ve said thus far is about not being able to feel certain body parts.

Every November has its highs and lows. The lows that stick out for me in particular, are always the same; there’s the insinuation that what I’m writing isn’t any good because I’ve written it quickly. Not entirely aimed at me of course, but at ‘overachievers’ in general, and I think it’s unfair to seek justification in the devaluation of others’ work. I know that there are parts of my novel I’m going to look at and cry over, and not in a good way. But I also know that I have something here, I feel good about it, so to be told that there’s no possible way it’s good is a little disheartening, especially this early in the month.

Because here’s the thing: the goal of 50,000 words in thirty days is not a  goal to be sniffed at! It’s terribly hard, especially if you’re doing it for the first time, and I recall that my first NaNoWriMo was steeped in despair. I saw these excessive word counts and wondered how on earth it was possible. I wallowed for ten days, refusing to write, almost unable to write, until a friend snapped me out of it, but those ten days, I was convinced I would never make it.

I especially admire the people who take on the challenge of NaNoWriMo with busy personal and professional lives, a thing I have avoided most years. I respect these people, because I know that this is something I would never be able to do; juggle all of these things simultaneously. I can’t tell you how great these people really are. They balance everything and still manage to write a novel within a month. This is not to be looked down on at all.

My only reason for pitching a goal as I have is the fact that I’m unemployed, and would have changed it to suit had I managed to land a job. As it turns out (which reminds me, my characters are developing strange little catchphrases, a la Snuff) I’m probably not going to land a full time position in the foreseeable future, so here I am. I’m whiling my days away by writing.

I’m still just as excited about the remaining 27 days of NaNoWriMo as ever. Here’s hoping that everyone else is, too!

 

 

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Two Hours Until NaNoWriMo 2011

That it is. So, with only two hours left until the madness begins, I’d like to say a few words.

I am possibly more excited for NaNoWriMo this year than I ever have been before, although exactly why is difficult to say. Every year, there’s a fantastic energy about the forums, so huge that it’s impossible not to get excited over the thought of this 50,000 (or in my case, 200,000) word venture.

Naturally, I have my concerns. This is the first year I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo that I haven’t had other things to do simultaneously – by other things, I mean coursework and other such commitments, as opposed to the social aspects. For this reason, I’m terribly frightened that I won’t fully take advantage of this opportunity, as though I’ll have too much time on my hands. Without that constant battle, finding times and places to write at every given moment, I fear I might slip off the beaten path and into procrastination hell. I mean, what’s stopping me from just writing for one or two hours a day and just sleeping for the rest? I can’t afford to do this, of course … I need a routine!

On the other hand, this might just be the concentrated effort I have been in need of. What I mean by that is that it’s simple enough for me to sit down and hammer out perhaps a thousand words in a few short sittings, and do this maybe two or three times a month. It’s not so much that I lose my way with projects is that I’m easily distracted, and yet every November until now, NaNoWriMo has ensured that I am not nearly as easily distracted as I usually am. Sitting down to write, knowing that I only have thirty days in which to write all of it, and seeing my stats page come to a standstill is unsettling enough to give me a brief kick and force me to get on with it. Perfect, in other words.

Fears and aims aside, I feel reasonably at ease with the prospect of starting my project within the next two hours. I haven’t prepared as much as I usually do, though I put this mostly down to the fact that, in the cases of most of my characters, I’m starting from a single idea and just running with it throughout their stories. The direction is always a killer for me; as long as I have a fairly concrete plot, which I do, I feel ready to tackle that mountain of words!

Or fall from halfway up said mountain. We’ll see what happens.

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Free Fall Fridays #2

First of all, yes, I did forget to do this last Friday, but honestly, there wasn’t much of an advance in plot anyway.

Last time, I mentioned how this story has hijacked my thoughts. This has only gotten worse over the course of the past couple of weeks, to the point that, not only am I dreaming about people falling from great heights, but my subconscious appears to be leading me to watch television shows where a similar thing happens. This most likely isn’t great for what little sanity I still have … I am looking forward to NaNoWriMo quite a lot, but it’s almost as though my mind sees fit to remind me that, ‘hey, you’re writing about people jumping off buildings this year’ every chance it gets. This would be fine … if I wasn’t almost done plotting. By almost done plotting, I do mean that the basics are all done; I have my short stories, and I have the story that ties them all together written down.

What comes next? Characters! I feel that it is more integral that I know my characters well this year than it has been any other year, or with any other project at all. This is not to say that I’m normally lazy when it comes to character construction – it’s a process I genuinely enjoy, half the time I create characters without needing to, so it’s not as though I find this an arduous task. There’s a whole other level of engagement I’m going to need with them, this time around, though.

My usual style of narration is third-person, past tense; this doesn’t discount the need to get to know characters so well, but it does mean that the narration is, distinctly, in my own style. I use language as I usually would, without too much deviation from what would be considered the ‘standard rules’ of grammar and spelling. While not being necessary for spoken exchanges between characters, it fits in well enough with the style of writing.

For a series of short stories, each centered around a rather different character each time, however, I feel that this has to change. I plan on playing around with the narration in each story; most being first person, some being second person, and the storyline that runs throughout being third person limited. This means that I am tasked with making each character ‘seem’ different, or taking into account the fact that not every character will narrate their own story in the same way. What does the way in which their story is written say about their personal background? Their level of education? Their career choice? Does it suggest an accent other than where the story is set? Why or why not? For the most part, these are things that I’m taking into account as I embark on the next step of my novel journey; characterization. It’s normally something I do right away, but in this case, is that much better left until last.

For me, creating a character starts, primarily, with a character sheet. How detailed the sheet is is mostly dependent on the character and their role; a primary character will usually have a more detailed sheet than a character who only has, maybe, two lines of dialogue and a paragraph description in the entire novel. That said, I usually try to avoid characters that are this minor, unless I’m placing my main cast in a densely populated area; a packed out bar or club, a roadside, a protest march … other than that, I don’t see the point in needlessly inserting ‘that twenty-something with the blonde hair who Bryson glimpsed once and never saw again.’ The things I like to get down first are their personalities, and how I think they might react to a certain social situation. The Myers-Briggs personality test is a handy resource for this, as are the multitude of personality tests floating around on the Internet. Of course, the results don’t always have to be followed to the letter, and the tests always work best if you have some idea of the character beforehand, but they can give some useful insight; for example, my primary character this year, Courtney, is an ESTJ, the polar opposite to my own result of INFP. This does not mean that all I need to do is make him react in a directly opposite way than I would to certain things. It just means that he might be considerably more impulsive, and self-confident than I am, and these are things I will need to bear in mind while writing.

Something else I’m dealing more heavily with this year than in the past is the idea of family. In every NaNo novel I can remember writing (which is all of them), I have neglected to have characters really interact with their parents and families, the exception being in Contempt for The Blind, however, it wasn’t so much an interaction as Justin fighting his ‘mindless drones of the government’ parents and sister. In some cases, this is because of the lives my characters lead, but more often than not, it’s just because I forget that they need parents and all, my characters being well into middle age themselves. The idea of family is something I started to deal with more extensively in Strictly Business, my as yet unfinished novel chronicling Jannah Reid’s dark past, and even more so in Free Fall. Of course, my biggest fear is that, should my family eventually read it, the less positive elements (most of them) could be seen as a well-aimed kick at them. They’re no such things, of course … but it occurred to me a little late in the day that someone in Courtney’s situation would still strive to have regular contact with his father. Being that he moved across an entire country to escape his past, this will most likely be consigned purely to phone conversations … all the same, however, it counts as contact.

Finally, here I feel that I have a set of characters who are significantly more authentic than I’ve had in previous years.  Butterfly Black’s cast was intentionally zany (mocking Hell, or the idea of Hell, kind of calls for it), Contempt for The Blind’s a stab at reality mixed with a kind of hyper-reality, and Where Jackals Lie mostly consisted of a contrived cast of Noir stereotypes. I’m not denying that this year, I have a set of characters who have been … extremely unfortunate, or made terrible decisions and done terrible things. But don’t we all make mistakes? Here, the challenge lies in trying not to make them, or indeed, anyone in the stories who inflicts suffering, an exaggerated form of villain. Even the worst cast members have some kind of redeeming quality, insignificant or significant, and this is where I think I may start hitting roadblocks. The idea that not everything is black and white.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough. On a slightly unrelated note, I’m looking forward to this year’s effort rather a lot, in part because I feel I am trying something newer, more different, than I have ever tried before.

On another slightly unrelated note, I’ve been NaNoing for exactly three years today! Hooray!

Roll on November!

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NaNoWriMo 2011

Just because I haven’t harped on about it enough already, the NaNoWriMo website resets today. Planning is well underway already (Free Fall Fridays #1), but I thought I’d basically just copy over to here what is already due to be posted on my profile, as well as a few added extras.

The Word Count

The more I try and think of ways to approach this, the more I’m feeling as though I’ll come off as arrogant for detailing it, but please, please bear with me – I’m not saying it to be cocky, but hopefully, what I’m about to write next should explain it somewhat;

The first year I participated in NaNoWriMo, 50,000 words seemed like this impossible stretch that I’d never, ever, achieve. My longest work up until then clocked out at around 33,000 words, collectively written over a period of two, nearly three, years. I made it, eventually, after about ten days of not writing and simply lamenting the fact that I couldn’t come up with anything to keep the story flowing. I got to around 53,000 words in the end, but the latter half of the story is one of those things; I just don’t talk about it, it’s that bad. Nonetheless, I came away with my first, complete story that wasn’t fan fiction, after a battle with myself to keep plugging away at it. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I didn’t give up.

With this in mind, I came back with a vengeance in 2009, a plot that had been sparked by an advertisement about the Swine Flu vaccination, and eventually, an outline of each chapter, character profiles, and quite a lot to go on. ‘I’m aiming for 75,000, if I can manage it,’ I said. I hit 75k somewhere around week 2 with no idea of how I had done it – last year, it had been so damn hard, so why had it come so easy this time around? In the end, I continued on to the end of the story, seeing as I had the time, which took me to somewhere around 121,000. With the month still not over, yet, I pushed on to 150,000 with a variety of random character background stories, and one of those works I tend to start but never finish.

When it came time for last year’s NaNo event, it only seemed sensible to set myself a similar target as in 2009 – part of the enjoyment, for me, is the feverish rush of typing and frantic coffee/energy drunk guzzling that comes in the last few days of NaNoWriMo. I didn’t quite have that in 2009, so wanted to up the ante this year to 200,000 words. I think I got complacent somewhere around week 3. I’d exceeded my total from last year, I thought, is it really the end of the world if I don’t hit it? I sat back. Relaxed too much and ended up around 20k short of my goal … this would have hit me harder had I not actually finished my story. Which, by the way, is still as terrible as ever.

So I’m reprising last year’s goal this year. 200,000 words by 11:59:59 pm GMT on November 30th. I have my doubts about hitting it this year, of course; I don’t want to spin my story out to meet my goal, but rather pick up another story if my first one ends in time. I estimate that Free Fall should take me up to around 120,000 if I’m lucky, so the other 80,000 could easily become a short novel in itself, and I’m guessing this is what I’ll do. What has let me down in the past with these post-NaNo Novel Novels is that I haven’t planned them out at all, so I feel that if I have two solid plans (Free Fall being my primary one, the one I intend to focus most upon) I might just make it.

If not, I’ll be downing energy drinks, coffee, and possibly even rum, deep into the night.

The Cover

I enjoy designing covers … not enough to warrant me finishing that Art & Design Btec, but enough to do it in my own free time. Unfortunately, these are a little rough around the edges, being as my Photoshop free trials have all run out now, and I can’t really be bothered to sort it out yet, I had to create them with GIMP. Which is all fine and good, but the image quality always suffers every time I use it, and, oh, yeah … I can’t make more than maybe one or two edits before it decides to inform me that it has ‘encountered a problem and needs to close.’ It took me maybe an hour longer to create these than it should have done.

I had a more complicated design in the works for a while, but honestly, it just looked shabby. The quality of the image I was using wasn’t too great, for a start, so, after putting it through the filter a few times, I came up with something that vaguely resembled the designs below, minus the stick men.  Why choose stick men? I figured that the subject matter was heavy enough already; the stick men seem to lessen the impact while still conveying the message I wanted. I don’t know, make of it what you will.


The Story

I’ve already gone into some detail about this, so I’ll spare the rambling and skip to my synopsis (which is, incidentally, also on the back cover, so you could always just read it there) – please be warned, this most likely contains some sensitive material, or an approach that could be construed as controversial. Skip if you’d like:

‘Just one step, and all your troubles go away.

Courtney Vaugn is familiar with what happens to a human body when it falls from the hundredth floor of some high-rise building. What he saw when he was thirteen, the image still burns, vivid, in his mind, no matter what he does to try and forget it. When he asked his father why someone would do that to themselves, his father explained that the person falling, they probably black out before they even reach the ground, and even if they don’t, it’s just ‘one step into nothing.’ Less painful than bleeding to death. Less risky than hanging. Easier than drugs.

Twenty-three years later, and Courtney is a rising star in the local investigation squad, a college educated crime scene investigator with a reasonably comfortable private life and a series of successful investigations under his belt. Then, what the team thinks is the mangled body of a woman, the pieces of her spread six feet in diameter, shows up. Haunted by what he saw as a teenager, Courtney throws himself into the case with a fierce determination that threatens to unhinge him. He wants answers. He wants to know what happened that night when he was thirteen, when he found what was left of her body.

A series of tales intertwine with Courtney’s own as he investigates the conditions for each suicide, desperate to know what drove them to it. Desperate to finally understand the event that triggered it all, and to face up to a lifetime of denial.’

The Conclusion

I’m looking forward to NaNoWriMo this year, as always, but I think it might be significantly stranger to do … unless I’m employed by the time it rolls around. If not, then every day will most likely be feeling like the weekends always have; wake up, write, shower, get dressed, write, eat, write, sleep (eventually). It’s a bizarre prospect, doing this, the idea that there is little else to do, but at least I’ll be doing something that I know I enjoy. Nobody’s forcing me to do this, after all.

This threatens to break me, though. I’ve never written anything like this before; read plenty of it, yes, which is part of the reason I’m sliding in such a direction. It never has been a case of stomaching it. Just reasoning with myself that what I’m writing actually works on the page.

Nonetheless, roll on November!

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Excerpt: Where Jackals Lie

So, the NaNoWriMo website resets tomorrow, and in ‘memory’ of last year’s event, I thought I might take the time to share an excerpt from the project I was working on at the time, ‘Where Jackals Lie.’ That, and I haven’t posted any of my writing in quite some time, the only story on here being Girl Talk … so it really is about time. Most of this project is pretty much irredeemable, entertaining enough for me to read through in my free time, but not something I’d ever look towards getting published. Unlike the rest of the book, this excerpt has been edited and polished for your enjoyment! Or … uh … well, feel free to laugh at this. If nothing else, it’s proof, to me, that I have, indeed, improved since last year. Critique at will, I just thought it was about time I shared some of this.

He had always hated the taste of his own blood. This morning, it was no different, although he was forced to consider just why he could actually taste blood, and why there was so much of it. He opened his mouth, sore lips hanging agape, the substance dried, crusted, cracking as he moved his jaw. It was not only his face that was bloodied, however. He chanced a glance towards his chest, bare, patches of the red-brown working their way down, almost to his navel.

That was not right. He had been fully clothed when he had been wandering around the streets last night, dressed all in black so as not to garner unwanted attention. His sweater may have been soaked through, he was sure it had been wet from the rain, but at least it had been on. His dampened jeans, on the other hand, did not seem to have been touched and he noticed that during the night he had worn a dark patch of collective rainwater and sweat into the white fabric of the bed. He could not focus on this, though, not while his head was pounding, aching more viciously than he had ever known it to before. He was probably bleeding all over the bed, or at least the wall that was supporting his head.

What else was supporting him? The base of his spine ached too, though was nothing when competing with his head, which had probably been cracked open at some point or another, he was relatively sure of it. It was a pain he vaguely remembered, isolated, but too overwhelming to even want to remember. Apparently, he had not been laying down for all this time, and the reason became immediately clear as he mustered the courage to turn his head gently to the side, neck stiff, threatening not to move at all if he couldn’t sustain his will. Silvery metal cuffs held him on each side, cold against his skin and tighter than he would have considered comfortable, even pleasurable. On each hand, one end of the cuff was attached to the bedstead, while the other was fastened tightly around his wrist.

Bryson groaned and tipped his head back, closing his eyes. He instantly wished that he had not done so. Whatever gash was in his head, wherever the blood was seeping out from, hit the wall painfully and he twitched, although the cuffs would not allow him to move too much. The scene in front of him was a difficult one to discern. His vision had not fully returned, and he knew that he had not felt this since the first time he had downed alcohol, mixed as many spirits as he could find until he passed out cold in the middle of the bar. His head was heavy with the pain and agitation, but he could vaguely comprehend the things that had been clear from the moment he had woken up, but that he had chosen to ignore until now; that it was morning, that the room was a minimalist type with light decor, and that he was chained to a bed.

Next to him, a mirror was situated upon a table laden with various knives in a selection of sizes, or with decorative grips, serrated edges. Weapons, not curios. Items used to kill, not merely to display. Most of the knives were small enough to be concealed, glimmered and told him that their owner truly cared for them … whoever it was knew the difference between a switchblade and a bayonet, for example. Some of these glittering implements were a little longer, much more brutal things that warned him not to make a wrong move, not to say anything out of line, because otherwise, he would pay dearly. It was these longer knives that caused him to look down, impulse leading him rather than the logic he could not find at present. Nothing but dried blood and dampened fabric.

It was what was laid out in front of him that demanded his attention. Anything that had once been in his pockets – two pistols, a switchblade, his lighter, half-finished pack of cigarettes and some spare change – was now set in front of his crossed legs, displayed as if to tell him that it was all over. Someone was on to him. An involuntary shudder ran down Bryson’s spine as he stopped to consider this prospect, distracting himself eventually with the thought of where the rest of his clothes might be. It did no good. His half-closed eyes scanned the room one last time, but it was spotless, effortlessly clean and white; the closet door was closed, vanishing into the white wall, and nothing else caught his eye. To anyone else, the sight of this endless, white room might have been maddening.

He swallowed, a metallic taste, is throat rough and mouth seemingly swollen, detached as though it was not his own. He felt as though he would never properly move his head again. Severe whiplash or the worst crick in the neck that anyone could experience … regardless, he had the strangest feeling that he had been suspended in the same position for far too long, and hoped dearly that whoever had him here would let him go soon. He grinned at the thought, more blood oozing out onto his chest.

“Not fucking likely,” he muttered, his voice hoarse, throat cracking from the liquid that had already dried in it. It was not likely, after all, that someone who had gone to the trouble to chain him up like this simply wanted to have their fun with him. He had never met someone so obscenely sadistic in his entire life, and he liked to think that he had already met a great deal of strange people, enough that he might have already met a closet sadist or two without knowing it.

“Well, aren’t you a mess,” the speaker’s voice croaked a little, like she had just woken up and was trying to get back into the routine of using it. However, he knew that there was no need to contest or doubt her. Every word suggested that she had the utmost control of the situation. He attempted to laugh, but only ended up spraying a mixture of blood and saliva on his skin. “I guess you can deal with it for a while, though.”

Slowly, he allowed his gaze to rise. She had left the door behind her open and a smoldering cigarette hung loosely between two of her fingers; he could see that the room in the background was crowded with smoke – she had not left a single window open and had, instead, let him sit here, protracting what was beginning to seem like her torment. It was not the cigarette that captured his attention, as much as he had started to crave one already. It was not even the swagger she presented herself with, a sheet of dark brown hair fluttering at her back as she crossed one leg in front of the other, stepping delicately on a smooth, cold floor.

No, if there was one thing that enticed Bryson more than anything, it was the fact that the woman approaching him was wearing little more than her underwear.

Her figure was desirable as any he had seen, not perfect by any means, but more than enough, and she did not have the flighty, absent quality that Elaina did. Everything she did, from each step she took towards him to the way in which she held herself, shoulders back, elbow bent so that her cigarette hovered somewhere near her shoulder, was a controlled action. She inhaled, took a long drag on the cigarette as she set herself down in front of him on the bed.

“I guess Eddie got a little carried away. He does that,” almost too gently, she placed a hand on his chin and jerked his head up. “It’s his hobby. He only messes people up if he wants to.” Too careful. Dangerously false. That smile was not real, it did not suit her, she was disguised in front of him. He could not muster anything to say, however, and remained silent as she smiled … sneered. He didn’t fully understand the expression.

She seemed irritated at his lack of a response and her smile faltered before she threw it away entirely in favor of an expression that so suited her. She twisted her head to the side a little, swelled her chest, licked her lips before looking back at him, directing her focus, her smile gone.

“You’re a bitch to track down.”

“I try.” He was not going to meet her with the kind of submissive response her presence commanded, not going to She narrowed her eyes, a gesture every woman he knew would perform at some stage or another, but here, it was different. A kind of malice. Threat.

“Ever since that councilor got himself killed. You remember? You’re a bitch to find, but you’re also sloppy. Some guys, they mentioned something about two-twelve, but I couldn’t quite understand them,” her hand neared him, the one clutching the cigarette between two of her fingers. “You wouldn’t know anything about it, would you?”

“What makes you think I would?” he breathed in sharply as she pressed the lit end of the cigarette into his forearm, grinding ash and ember into a burn, a perfect pink circle. It was an extended gesture, but he could not bring himself to writhe, exhaling instead, the cigarette still not gone from his arm. She paused for a moment, he watched as she glanced slowly over at the dressing table, the knives – the conclusion was working over her, a simple enough one to come to, and one he was sure she would enjoy. Who was he to deprive her of such pleasure? After a few minutes, however, watching her gazing almost listlessly away from him, he understood that the silence had gone on for too long. “Why am I here?”

First, she removed the cigarette, seeming to awaken as he asked her this. She pulled herself delicately up onto the bed, shifting his belongings that she had placed in front of him for no apparent reason, and sat back on her heels, her hands resting upon her thighs.

“Because … I can’t risk you getting away, not just yet,”

“I don’t think there’s much of a chance of that happening,” he grimaced as he tried to move his head once again, motioning towards the handcuffs holding him in place. He watched as she grinned at him, momentarily, her hands sliding along her smooth, olive thighs towards her knees and back again. She cocked her head to the side again, this time examining him, his eyes, his face, the blood crusted around his nose and lips. Large patches of it running down his chest, towards his navel. His eyes followed her hands, clear nail polish and three or four silver rings with no discernible significance; she didn’t stop once she noticed him looking, pulled her hands further up towards her hips, moving them in longer motions now, aware that he was paying attention.

“You know, you look so much better in the photo, ” he didn’t quite know if his heart stopped at that moment. He didn’t feel as though there was much need in asking the question that struck him at that moment, but he did it anyway.

“What photo?” she grinned, removed her hands from her thighs, seemingly knowing it was futile to continue anyway, and lifted herself from the bed. As he watched her stretch out her perfect legs, he noticed how his own didn’t seem to work any more; as though he had lost all feeling in them. Not surprising. They should have gone numb long before. Standing there in her underwear, she unfolded a copy of the Report that he hadn’t noticed before, and his own clean face stared back at him. An accident. The photographer had been trying to get the body, and failing that, Carruthers.

“I took that mask you were wearing off shortly after you got here. I must say, detective, you do an impressive job. Why would anyone suspect you?” he didn’t need her to tell him how perfect the idea had seemed at the time. Now, not only was he wishing he had never so much as started the job, he was starting to wish he hadn’t gone into work the day after. Hadn’t gotten in the way of the photographer. He was starting to wish that he could have avoided the whole situation; he didn’t need the smug look on her face, the way she straightened up before perching herself on the edge of the bed once again to tell him where she had him.  “So, detective. Why did you do it?” he didn’t suppose that acting like it never happened would benefit him right now. He was damned if he wasn’t going to try it, though. He gritted his teeth as he spoke.

“Do what?” she leaned in. Picked up the pack of his cigarettes that had been lying on the bed and withdrew one, before placing it between her nude, glossed lips and flicked open his lighter. She took one drag, before nearing him with it.

“Why did you kill the councilor?”

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Free Fall Fridays #1

I’m doing this purely for alliteration, can’t you tell?

What Are Free Fall Fridays?

Simply put, they’re Fridays upon which I’ll be posting NaNoWriMo plotting and writing updates.  Sometime in the past few weeks, I decided my novel this year will be ‘Free Fall’, due to the subject matter, and it kind of makes sense to have a set date upon which I post the week’s updates (unless I really can’t wait until the end of the week). I could just as easily do ‘WriMo Wednesdays,’ if I decide that word count relates issues might benefit from being kept separately, but for now, it’s ‘Free Fall Fridays.’ If I don’t feel an update is in order, I may post an excerpt, depending on how I feel at the time … and how quickly I write it, which is directly proportional to how readable it is.

This Week:

The plotting business, it’s getting a little grisly. Luckily, it’s not too grisly for my tastes, but I’m a little bit taken aback by how this particular story seems to have taken hold of me  and hijacked my thoughts, permanently, so that all I’m really thinking about is … well, I’ll let the title suggest what it might be.

It’s coming together reasonably well, though; better than I ever thought it would. When it comes down to it, I’ve never, ever, put my mind to a project quite like this. I had the idea to write a series of short stories over the summer, but the idea never really materialized because there was no concrete plot. I couldn’t put my mind to coming up with one, because I was set in my ways; what I had intended was to create something of a portfolio, as opposed to something in novel format. I had thought to string them together, link them all in some way, but the link was never quite there … it just seemed rather contrived.

What I have now, it needs a lot of work, yes, but there’s something there. Something I feel good about (though maybe I should feel bad about it – it’s morbid as hell), confident enough to put into motion. This has happened once before, concerning a NaNo novel, and the end result can be seen on the right-hand side of this page. This seems like advertising, yes. I assure you it isn’t. If there was still a free download available, I’d restrict it only to that, but I won’t go into my reasons for that work still having a price tag here. The result was Contempt for The Blind; it seems juvenile now, but I was proud of it at the time. I was pleased by the fact that I’d managed to write something with an actual plot. An actual storyline. Dear lord, this had never happened to me before.

Last year’s novel, Where Jackals Lie, never had a plot. Not in the six years, from conception to writing it at fever-pitch in less than a month, did it ever have a plot. A friend asked me what its plot was. ‘Um, well …’ with the conclusion being that it never had one, and probably never would. It was fun to write, though.

Anyway, digression over, I’m significantly used to writing traditional ‘novels’, chapter by chapter novels that unfold in this way. In part due to the influence of reading Haunted, and in part stemming from my initial desire to write a set of short stories over the summer, this is what I set out to do. In terms of format, something I did learn from Haunted was that you can have a set of extremely different stories told from varying perspectives, by extremely different characters, and still work them into something with a more linear narrative. Stories within a story, I suppose you’d call it.

No, I’m not rehashing Haunted, and I do understand just how risky me citing it as an influence is, believe me.

So step one of plotting this novel was; a set of short stories.

Step two; a very strange, disturbing and slightly depressing, fascination of mine that I won’t detail just yet.

Step three; conditions to trigger each scenario.

Step four; plotting being entirely derailed by a rather bizarre but hugely useful dream I had about my parents’ marital status. Little did I know that this would provide what is, essentially, my novel’s conclusion, as well as something of a background for my central character outside the individually narrated short stories.

Step five; considering a way in which to piece this all together.

Step six, the step that I’m on now; developing a series of characters and their own individual stories.

The intention with this? Nothing more than to try something new. I’d be lying if I said I  didn’t want to be published … some day. I understand that there are a lot of things I need to do first, a lot of ideas I need to develop, and I most definitely need to get a grip on the real world. Which is to say, I need to make sure that I know what shocks others, not me. Pushing the boundaries is an incredible idea, and one I admire … for someone who is already a well established author.

So I’ll settle for growing as a writer, this time around. Taking a leap (a completely lame and ironic pun given what I’m working on) and not playing it safe any more.

Besides, I hunger for a challenge.

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October is Almost Upon Us


National Novel Writing Month

Of course, I only realized this fact today. The significance of October besides Halloween and getting to try out the costume I’ve spent the better part of the past few months piecing together? (yes, I like dressing up) NaNoWriMo. Or more specifically, planning for NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo? I hear you ask. Well, if you’d rather not stick around to hear my explanation, the link is right there. Just underneath the image. I’ll indulge anyway.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is an event held every November; the goal is for participants to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, through hell or high water. Simple, huh? The method works for some – the idea of letting go, writing a novel, and not stopping to edit until the the month is over and done with. No, it is not to everyone’s tastes, but I find it to be a necessary approach if I ever want to get any work done.

I feel justified in stating that yes, NaNoWriMo does work for me. No, nothing I’ve written during it has ever been entirely publishable (not without a lot of work), but don’t most, if not all, first drafts tend to go this way? The fact of the matter is, in no other month have I found myself able to get 180,000 words down on the page in the space of 30 days. And no, I didn’t even think I was capable of it before I did it; naturally, this only served to encourage me, and why not? I’d rather have something that can be worked on than have nothing written down on the page at all.

But what does this have to do with October? Well, this post may seem rather ironic now that I have published Not Plotting. Because I may very well start plotting … not for the same novel I’m not plotting for of course, but I feel it only sensible to do it prior to NaNoWriMo, given that I’m going to be writing at a reasonably fast pace (if the past couple of years are anything to go by), and I don’t think that I have the ability to formulate, or react to, plot elements quite so quickly than if I set them all out beforehand. This, and I feel as though my novel will be quite a different experience than it has been the past couple of years – not least because I plan to write it in the first person, and am somewhat hesitant to call it a novel. The intention, since the outset, was to write it as a series of short stories. I’d rather lace them all together while I can than rushing to do it and butchering the entire thing.

So, October is almost upon us and I have relatively little idea of what I’m going to do, which is to say, I have a basic concept. How I’m going to orchestrate this, the characters, and what happens to them are all things that I need to start focusing upon, I feel; I’d very much like for this to be an opportunity for me to be a little more … creative with some of the events, some of the things that happen to the characters, and to really get the ball rolling on what it is I would prefer to write. I get the feeling that anything I have written up until this point is simply not enough, that I can push much, much further and at least give my supposed ‘dream’ a shot.

What is that ‘dream’? Well, I have some far-fetched designs on being a female Easton Ellis or Palahniuk. Of course I feel pretentious for even saying that, and of course I know it is never going to happen. I don’t think that fully discounts me from having a little fun with that idea while I still can. I don’t think that it should prevent me from experimenting with my writing – if nobody is ever subjected to reading it, then who am I harming, really?

In other words, at the infancy of the novel I started, perhaps, a little too late in the day, I’m most likely already going to abandon it in favour of another. Aren’t I the promiscuous writer? Perhaps I’ll try doing something I seldom do and write both a story and an outline almost simultaneously, making fleeting attempts at not confusing elements of one with the other and getting myself into … well, a complete mess. One thing’s for sure, I will have this outlined before November gets here!

I’m sounding rather indecisive right now, aren’t I?

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Not Plotting.

So … on any normal occasion, I can’t glorify the benefits of having a sound plot outline before starting a new project. Such benefits should be obvious; channeling numerous and varied ideas into a coherent structure, having a sound knowledge of the plot direction and pacing, and having a thorough understanding of the project’s cast of characters.

Therefore, I doubt anybody could be more surprised than I was when I jumped headfirst into a new project without doing any of the aforementioned things.

I don’t tend to outline the short stories that I write, the main reason being I begin writing them with every intention of seeing where, exactly, they might take me; the term ‘short story’ may even be incorrect considering most are quick writing exercises to make sure I keep up the habit, not that that always goes according to plan. I have fun with them. I start with an idea and let that lead me on, allow the characters to adapt to the situation that is, essentially, dictated by the first line of the story in most cases.

Perhaps it is this, then, that had led to a new, slightly foreign, habit of mine. Perhaps it is because I’ve chosen to write at a much slower pace than usual, too, and that I don’t feel as much of a need to have some … slightly more polished thoughts at hand this time because it’s something I’m focusing on more as I write. Perhaps it is the fact that I have, essentially, written this story before, albeit with a different protagonist, a different antagonist, and a slightly different chain of events but when push comes to shove, the basic motivations of my characters remain the same. Some of the concepts are more believable, and the narrative viewpoint has changed, but the intention was always to take something I wasn’t so pleased with and rework it into something I’m at least halfway proud to put my … pseudonym on.

So for all I’ve said in the past on various forums about having a concrete plot outline, I can say just as much for not having one. I lost faith in this after my first year of NaNoWriMo; the resultant story was a mess, something I had wanted to put into action for a long time, but once I did, I handled badly and didn’t particularly want to look at it when the month was over. I still consider it irredeemable. There are a multitude of reasons why this is so, which I won’t bore you with.

I don’t feel quite so restrained to taking my story in a particular direction, said direction being the one I already set for myself perhaps a few weeks or days prior.  I had thought I might actually feel quite lost without anything to refer back to; no doubt once I get past maybe chapter three or four and things start to spiral a little more out of my control than I might like, I’ll get back to the drawing board with the outline, but by this point I think it might become something that is beyond me. All or nothing, if you will. Either I outline before I start writing, or not at all.

And who is to say where this will lead anyway? Most likely to the middle of a story that will be mercifully abandoned in the near future, forever damned to the depths of my ‘Writings’ folder, which in itself is a hellish place to be. It’s a kind of limbo between the story graveyard and the projects that came to life; anything that is still stuck there and hasn’t already been relocated to its own folder will most likely remain there for ever more and may never see the light of day again. Inadvertently, by writing this, I have probably assured that they will. I’m curios to see what I left there.

At this point in time, I can’t fully grasp what I would really need to put into the outline for this project; the most I have is a few bullet points written after harnessing the setting of the first chapter, brief things like ‘the detective’, ‘the shrink’ and ‘the tapes’ – I know what they mean, and this should suffice. The character work was mostly already done. I’ll start giving people heart attacks if I mention Jannah one more time, I’m sure, so none of that. Suffice to say, however, I look upon this more as breathing new life to characters I can’t abandon rather than recycling them; their first less-than-stellar outing, while not quite being tossed into novel limbo, is in a file that I very much doubt I will touch again for quite some time. It’s not a failure, but I’ve already shown myself what it could be, had I gone in a different direction … a direction I probably wasn’t ready to take when I first wrote it.

In conclusion? I’m not plotting. Actually, I very much refuse to until things start going awry. For once, I’m giving myself the benefit of the doubt.

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