Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Another New Novel(la)

Whilst my last novella is being read and edited by some dedicated friends, I decided not to let the grass grow under my feet and start writing the next book.

The version being edited, is a murder-mystery set in China and follows the trials of a hack called Harry Patterson, who gets into far more trouble than he'd expected when he investigates a regular story in Beijing. Fuck Off, Chip will be the first of a series of Harry Patterson novels to be written over the next few years. But in the meantime the new story is a change of pace and a departure from murder-mystery and into science fiction.

Writing Fuck Off, Chip taught me many things which should hopefully speed up the writing of Black & White. Things such as planning and not just writing into the air will at least give me a sense of direction; the established use of spreadsheets will help organize the story and its sections and having established that writing in small chunks using Q10 is better for focusing my mind and not getting bogged down in pages upon pages of text I now have the best tools for my job.

So on with the writing!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Work tools

I wrote before about the tools used to write and about how I found using spreadsheets to be a great way of planning a book.

Well recently, I've been getting pretty fed up with my copy of X-numeric throwing up odd error messages, so I looked for new spreadsheet packages that would provide what I need for writing ie just give me columns and rows to write in. But, as you'd imagine most spreadsheets are designed to compete with Excel and provide more bells and whistles than I need.

Eventually I found Spread 32 a free, very small bare-bones spreadsheet on a copy of Floppy Office. It's even smaller than the one written by the people at Bye Design. I don't mind about the lack of color in the FO version but it's one limitation is that it only recognizes files in its own format. So I can't import old spreadsheets. But that's not a major hindrance and so long as this one keeps doing what I need it to I'll stick with it.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Is the end in sight?

Another 7,000 odd words and the end is getting closer. It still has a way to go but it feels stronger for the edits that were suggested  by friends.

Originally I wanted to leave it all hanging, like the final scene of the Italian Job (the original version, that actually took place in Italy!) but it did feel incomplete. So, I've compromised and wrapped it all up except for one little bit.

Now, it's time to get the red pen out and look through the whole thing before giving out to my friendly editors.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

New Header

After the feedback I received I've been busy making the edits. It's certainly been a challenge and if I'm honest I was aware of many of the faults, so these comments just kicked me in the pants.

But making these changes is tiring and often demoralizing, especially when I hit a brick wall. To get over the hump I write other things, a change of pace and a change of scene often does the world of good.

With that in mind here's one I knocked up earlier.

A Deists Dream

The Universe was not, as some would believe, a master stroke of engineering created by some divine being. It was a fluke: a one in an infinitesimal chance against. It made the chances of finding you're holding the winning the lottery whilst being charged by a herd of elephants in your high street, seem  pretty big. And then there's life, sentient living breathing rutting life.  You think that there's life on your cheese after it's been left in the fridge to become a hairy scrotum after a sweaty day playing rugby. Nope that's just mold, absolutely no chance of anything interesting happening there.

It basically takes, as any scientist will tell you,  a lot more luck than that.

Tuesday afternoon and our hero is bored, he's sitting through another lecture on the history of someone or other who did something really amazing. With a pad of paper on his lap and a clutch pencil in his hand he started to doodle. The lines flowing, like a melting glacier, that would etch their way into the papery fibers coating the micro-filaments with a gray powdery soot. By the end of the lecture. it's a mess of  assorted lines and shapes, nothing of any interest to him or future archaeologists. He tears the sheet of paper off the pad and shoves it deep into his jacket pocket.

The next day he finds himself sitting on a bus, going to meet some friends. It's a long journey and he hasn't got a book to read, so he shoves his hands in his jacket pockets and pulls  the collar up around his chin to ward off the biting cold.  Inside his pockets he finds the paper he'd drawn on the previous day, he looks at it, smiles and stuffs his hands back, hoping that the thin fabric will have some kind of curative effect on his circulation. He drifts off to sleep and dribbles slightly. Waking with a start he finds he's missed his stop, where is he? He panics momentarily. He's at the end of the line, miles away from anywhere. He gets off and waits for the next bus back.

Lunch the following day was lasagna and chips from the college canteen, he's all but forgotten about the paper that's still in the pocket of the coat he wore the previous night. The frost from the previous night, has melted, leaving his pocket slightly damp and smelling like his parents' wet Spaniel after a romp through a muddy field.

He wakes late, misses his lectures, drags on his clothes including the now musty jacket, he greets it like an old friend, shakes it and the paper and pencil fall onto the floor. Picking them up, he shoves them back into a pocket and heads out of the door. It's raining, the harsh wind drives it hard into his face, his coat wasn't designed for this, he wipes the spray from his eyes, hoping that his eyelashes will stay clear enough to cross the road. They don't,  and as he crosses the road he momentarily finds it odd that he's suddenly flying through the air when just as suddenly he lands on the cold wet tarmac. Muffled noises surround him and then silence.

His fish supper went cold that night. He wakes the next morning in a strange bed, and, except for the beeping machines complete silence. He tries to move, everything aches. He sees his clothes in the corner of the room. A nurse comes in, he asks for them. The black jeans have been torn and sliced, from the tarmac and the nurses' scissors; the jacket survived more or less intact. The paper and pencil are still in the pocket: battered but still working. He bites through the pain and draws more, adding more complexity to  Tuesday's doodle.

And there he leaves it. He closes the cover of his pad and darkness envelopes his etchings. Unknown to him, the water, the cold and collision with a car have created the perfect storm and a universe is created and our hero has become a God. In time this universe gives birth to sentient beings, but he doesn't know about them. 

Time passes and he grows older, the young man becomes a young father who becomes a middle aged parent before becoming a grandfather and finally an old man. Still unaware of the lives he kick-started all those years ago. He dies and his unknown legacy lives on, still foolishly worshiping a man who knew nothing of their existence neither knew nor cared.