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haters gonna hate – even the shit i be proud of, yeah?

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confessions of a psycho cat – the cramps

One thing about finishing another novel is, instead of just having a dip, lying in a drug-induced stupor, bemoaning the overwhelming sense of purposelessness, this year I have the Scottish independence referendum. As regular face-huggers of this blog will know, I’m an ‘AYE’ voter. Always have been, for reasons I’ve already detailed in previous posts. This morning, it struck me.

Am I being selfish, wanting a future for my offspring and grand-offspring? Wanting a nuclear free Scotland, where I can live longer and remain healthier while I’m about it?

I began ruminating on what a ‘naw’ vote would do for me. The most obvious benefit would be, as a writer of dystopian fables, the worse it gets, the closer my writing gets to real life. So maybe I should be voting ‘naw’. Out of respect for my writing.

Adverts featuring the patronising BT lady, last weekend’s sudden upsurge in violence by BT thugs, all these are the air I breathe. Surely it would make a lot more sense for me to embrace the forces of reaction. After all, their message is the message I put into the mouths of all my negative characters.

I spend a lot of time brooding about horrible things – selfishness, stupidity, greed, short-sightedness. All the things, when bundled together, add up to what those of a spiritual bent would call evil.

Surely it’s hypocritical of me, when I have the chance to help create greater inequality, greater injustice in the world, to instead act to maximise al the positive things that independence would bring. After all, I couldn’t see me ever using Alex Salmond as a character in anything I wrote (or if I did, he’d probably perish, screaming in front of his wailing loved ones after a few pages.) Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy and the nazi thug who kicked a (possibly pregnant) woman in the stomach at the weekend? Welcome, fools! Make your funny-looking selves at home. My biggest problem, when I’m writing these characters, would be trying to impose some characteristics that made them likeable – even if only for a few pages.

So, maybe I should be voting ‘naw’. Maybe I should be arguing more strongly against entering the future responsibly. After all, if an alliance of fascists, xenophobes, conservatives and nut-jobs manage to convince the easily-terrified segments of our populace that poverty and foodbanks bring people closer together, that continuing to blindly follow corrupt politicians – even after they’ve been caught lying with their hands in the till, the closer the world gets to the worlds I imagine. Surely this is how one capitalises on a gift. And that nice Mrs Thatcher always said that was the way, the truth and the life. Selling out every principle I have for cold hard cash.

Only kidding! I’m voting ‘AYE’. There was never any question.

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dazed nymph in the n.o.x – skullflower

That’s me finished the first draft of this serial killer novel. It’s been a blast, but I’m glad to see the back of it, if I’m a hundred percent honest. Five, six weeks inside the imaginary skulls of some pretty damn sick little monkeys, was more than enough.

I’m aware it needs a fair bit of work (in the pool a couple of hours ago, I thought of an attribute for one of my central characters) but that’s for next year at the earliest.

Once I’ve nailed this puppy to the floor, I’m going back to work on October’s novel.

I’m also brushing up on characterization for my revision. I don’t think it’s possible to know too much about the core of writing – plot, setting and character. And, in this case, several important characters have broken free of their moorings and are drifting dangerously.

I’m also casting about for a new way to approach November’s NaNo. That special something that’ll make forcing out another fifty thousand word anal boulder new, fresh and vital.

In other news, the Bitter Together lot have really excelled themselves with their latest advert. Pitched, one assumes, at women too stupid to be as racist and bigoted as last week’s ‘ordeniry wommens’. Or maybe in their vision of Scotland-yet-to-come, all our women are to have boob jobs and lobotomies – Stepford-style.

Across fife, there are loads of people walking around with ‘AYE’ badges, massive signs outside a few houses, flags with ‘YES’ printed on them. Occasionally, one sees a wee ‘naw’ sticker on a bus stop but that’s about it. Up by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, however, there are loads of ‘naw’ signs. Practically every field has one. The rural posh probably don’t need to be told they’re shit-thick to want to hang on to all that wealth, power and privilege. And I hope to Christ there’s more of us than there is of them, come next month.

It just remains to be seen now whether enough people actually get off their arses to vote in next month’s referendum. Whoever wins, it’s going to be close. Hopefully, there’s enough depth of feeling to get enough people out there to make their ‘aye’ X and we can kiss Westminster and all its criminals goodbye.

And hopefully, in an independent Scotland, oil revenues will bring in enough hard cash to re-educate all the ‘ordeniry wommens’. Teach them how to discuss matters that are troubling them.

killer in the home – adam and the ants

I mentioned last week that I’ve completed dossiers for all four of my major characters. Actually, on closer inspection, I’d only completed three. The central character, the murderer, hasn’t got one yet. I thought I’d leave him until last and then, filled with the evangelical spirit, I forgot and started writing.

It’ll be interesting, having all my other characters nailed, whilst allowing their interactions with him to form their expectations of him.

I’ve started a twitter account for him (@ChosenSord), while I’m writing. So, as the other characters’ stories give pointers to him, he’s already tweeting in the style of taunty messages sent to the police by deranged crazed loners. So yeah, there’s a lot of me in him already.

This is a new way of characterising, which I’m enjoying so far. Since I have, as I think I’ve mentioned, the attention-span of a moth on crack, it’s important to me to find a way with each novel, to keep things fresh. Otherwise, I think I’d get bored with the whole process of writing and, I don’t know, take up Dadaist murdering instead.

This is making me think about this character in a totally different way to my other characters, creating (i think) a different feel to him compared to the others.

And I’ve had one or two limited interactions between him and some of my friends from my main twitter account (@white_cell). Hopefully, if people start conversing with him, he’ll come even more to life.

I’ve managed eight thousand words of the first draft in my first week and its started to pour out quite quickly, which is always a bonus. Hopefully I can nail this puppy to the floor by the end of the month and start on the final, final polish of dreich NOiR for publication in October.

Anyway, enough of this idle chit-chat! This violent pornography’s not going to write itself, is it?

@white_cell (real-ish person, pretty much)

@ChosenSord (imaginary fiend, ideally)

rearrange your synapses – atari teenage riot

I’m all set to embark on next month’s novel. My working pattern for the next few months involves me caning work for three, four days followed by three, four days off. Up until now, I’ve approached novel writing by simply writing each day until the work is complete. This time, it’ll be sustained bursts, interspersed by going back to work for a wee rest before sinking my teeth into it again. Which is great – it feels like the first time all over again.

This time, I’ve completed dossiers for my four main characters and just collected photographs for the minor characters and all my settings. (How was this possible before we had the masturbation superhighway?)

I’m experiencing the usual pre-novel trepidation: does this plot hang together? Are these characters believable/involving/deep enough? And, of course, that perennial favourite, how the fuck can I find sufficient shirt-elastic to somehow squeeze out more than fifty thousand words??? In a month??? Sweet Christ, I’m not up to this enormous task – oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me, thy misshapen servant???

None of these fears will have any impact on my output over the next month. It’s pre-match nerves, nothing more. Once I get started, I know that new ideas will spurt out like puke from a kicked tramp. I feel confident that my mind will disgorge plenty of stuff I haven’t even considered yet. Once I start hammering my notes into shape, the gaps I find will suggest solutions and workarounds and the novel will take shape under its own steam.

The best moments whilst writing (for me, anyway) are when the plot just sort of unfolds and all I do is immerse myself in the in-skull movie, transcribing it as fast as I can as it effectively writes itself. It’s a trance-like state that’s enjoyable enough while I’m going through it. And after it’s over, I can pat myself on the back for how brilliant I am. Win-win.

I’m slightly overhung as I write this, (29 vii 14) leading me to believe that I’ll shit this draft out a lot more easily if I increase my alcohol-free days to seven or eight per week. Which may or may not happen, it’s hard to tell from here.

And I’ve started on the B-vitamins (yesterday). I’ve done this the last couple of times and it does seem to improve things, forcing my brain (such as it is) into ‘clever’ mode.

go your own way – fleetwood mac

This week, I’ve mostly been writing towards the novel scheduled for October this year – and planning next month’s first draft frenzy. I’ve been using Scrivener for this. Which, when one actually sits down and devotes a couple of days to the tutorials provided, really is a spectacular bit of software. As others have said, it’s as far above a common or garden word processor as MS Word is above writing on shop windows with shite on a stick.
Don’t believe me? Try the demo, do the tutorials and if that doesn’t increase your workflow, you’re already dead.
There are only four major characters in next month’s novel, with an assortment of walk-ons and part-timers. I can get through these pretty quick, I reckon.
Dreich NOiR’s a whole different kettle of pish. This was all written in various different software, across a variety of machines (desktop PC/llaptops/netbooks/handheld/smartphones) so being able to pull it all together in scrivener’s an absolute joy.
I’ve also been spending time with an ex from way-back-when. The relationship went on for about a year, back in the early eighties and revolved around her hedonism and my own nihilism – a folie au deux, as the French would say. Fun at first, it all went a bit ‘Requiem for a dream’ towards the end and we parted on very bad terms indeed. Fast forward thirty or so years and she’s grown up a lot and I’m a bit less caught up in my own inner arsehole, so it’s been very rewarding, getting to know her as a pretty nice adult.
Getting drunk with her has been fun and there’s a great ‘zero bullshit’ vibe to it all. Which is pretty good going from someone who said, at our first meeting in thirty years, “a year with you was enough to convince me I have absolutely no interest in either sado-masochistic sex or psychedelic drugs.”

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