November writing goals.

I'm in limbo, time to dust off an old idea and see what happens

And what colour would this prose be?

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Oct 19, 2014
Still a day to go but I am indulging myself by starting this early. And purely for selfish reasons because I am not sure.

I know what I would like to do and that is starting the KSIS process on a first draft crime novel I have all lined up but I have been saying that for a while now and it has not happened so I need to leave that. Ditto with the website.

So a few hours to go before I commit. Or not. :)
And we are off! Just back from my early morning coffee and work has commenced on 'Metanoia'(WT), draft 2.

My crust can be a strange old place at times. Been faffing about with getting this underway for months and then, all of a sudden, old Norman decides that a grim, cold, wet November morning is the right time and place to set off on yet another long and winding trek.

And I am buzzing on the back of it. Happy days. No doubt will be cursing soon but the moment, all is well in my writing world. And nothing much wrong with the rest either. :)
November is the month I need to finish my contribution to the Illicit boxed set, because the final file is due December 5th! I also hope to start the story for the fourth boxed set. This story will be book one of a (probably) four book series I want to write. I'm not doing NaNo this year only because it's actually a massive PITA for me, as I don't have time to write anything on the days I work. And on the days I don't work, I'm lucky to hit 3K. Not because I don't want to, but because everything else gets in the way. :) So there's no point in stressing myself out over it. :)
Trigger Warning (as I believe the bright young things like to say)- Self-regarding nonsense ahead. Look away if the type to easily cringe.

So there I am. At the start of the month. A first draft crime novel gathering electronic dust in my hard-drive. Been sitting there for well over a year now and despite many promises, I simply cannot get into the KSIS process. But this time is going to be different. Now I have cleared the decks, strapped down the barrels, scraped the barnacles off the hull along with any and other sailing preparation metaphor you can be arsed to come up with.

I am ready to head out onto the high seas and not return until I have a cargo that is ready for the marketplace.

Now this first draft is as rough as a 80’s Saturday night down the Old Kent Road. But I like my MC, a deviant Detective Sergeant. ‘Like’ is not quite perhaps the right word. He serves a purpose with a suitably dark backstory offering me all sorts of opportunities to explore the various trials and tribulations that fascinate me about this London of mine enduring the slings and arrows of the 21st century. I can have him moved to any of the 32 boroughs on the merest of whims, compel him face up to all manner of dilemmas, both personal and professional, the two often intermingling. Even his musical whim, which I felt I had to include given the accepted norms of 21st century British crime writing, have intrigued me despite their contrived nature, proving the catalyst to a dramatic, and unexpected until almost the end, denouement that made me want to eat myself, such was the joy I felt when old Norman, who was nothing other than his usual charming and helpful self, presented it to me on a plate. I loved the way the plot evolved, the twists and the turns, the second murder turning up unexpectedly and proving the tipping point for the story to become that much darker. In short, I was bloody chuffed with myself when I wrote ‘The End’.

I believe this novel has potential. And I want to work on it, desperate to throw myself wholeheartedly into the process. To immerse myself in the intricacies, to churn the grey matter over as I read, edit, redraft, over and over again until I have completed it then turning to the next one. Then perhaps another. Because there is a series in this. I feel that in my bones that I not only want to write but feel I need to.

However Norman has a sudden change of heart. Refusing to cooperate. In full on mutiny. Standing there with arms crossed, cold eyes glaring, his ever present pipe nowhere to be seen. But I am not having it. I cast off anyway, vowing that I can do this on my own, that now is the time for the student to become the teacher.

And I make it out of harbour. With the tide against me, the winds threatening to drive me onto the rocks, the waves battering the hull from all directions but I still manage to battle my way through the first 7 chapters, every nautical footstep even more of an absolute slog, leaving me bewildered, exhausted and increasingly nauseous. I have to acknowledge that along with the dawning realisation that I cannot do this alone.

Perhaps this pissing contest needed to happen? Maybe I needed to go toe to toe with good old Norm? To stare him in the eye whilst screaming in a mix of rage and frustration about his staunch unwillingness to acquiesce to my demands? His refusal to obey my clear and concise commands. To stomp up and down, throwing my arms up in the air, screaming blue murder, using the choicest of language.

With the result being that I need to acknowledge who the real boss in all of this is? Of how I have forgotten my place in the galley, hands firmly on an oar? Foolishly imagining instead that I deserve a place on the bridge, unwilling to accept that I am poorly equipped to grip the Wheel?

They say that acceptance is the first step.

I waved the white flag. I did so with no graciousness and eyes wet with tears at my literary impotence, wanting to weep at Normans intransigence. And at my humiliation.

Hence on Wednesday, I sit down in my favourite local cafe, order a cup of frothy coffee, and begin to work on a short story set in my ‘Piranha Pandemic’ world.

963 words later,all done and dusted for the session. And the buzz back. That elusive tingle I crave. That sense, for a few minutes at least, that this is what I am meant to be indulging in. The flow. With Norman watching over me the entire time, clouds of fragrant smoke once again billowing from his pipe, rewarding my efforts with almost imperceptible constant nodding, his eyes back to their warm, understanding, self. My best interests at heart. Only wanting what is best for us both. Mine not to reason why.

Know your place Matty boy. Know your place.
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Matnov, you sound haunted by your MC...which is something that's happened to me several times. As writers, it's as if we're conducting a seance summoning up the spirits of these fictional beings and giving them form. When I find myself being taken over by a strong character, I remind myself of the central ethos that guides their actions and how it differers from my own philosophy.

For instance, my Cornish Detective (a farmer's son) cleaves to P.D. James assertion that, "What the crime story is about is not murder but the restoration of order." I based him on several farmers I've known, who were proud to look upon the well-managed landscape of their farm, reassured that everything was in its right place. I also had a good friend, a drinking companion, who noticed the absence of a tall beech tree every time we walked back from the pub. It had been a landmark of his childhood, and even though it was felled twenty years before, it was as if he was puzzled as to why it was missing and wanted it back.

My latest villain, a murderous art dealer, is obsessed by art...which he considers to be the only reason to live. He kills to protect his collection. He shows only one act of kindness, when he lets trawlermen use a closed ship-repair yard he owns. Puzzled by this generosity, my detective finds that he's only done so to ensure a few fishing vessels continue to ply their trade as it's good for the sales of his Victorian paintings featuring the fleet.

Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole detective is an out of control character, who often confronts himself, as well as confounding the reader with his wayward actions. I sometimes wonder who's in charge of the plot—Hole or Nesbø.

I hope that the piranhas don't take you over, making you voracious for flesh! :eek:
Norma's had enough of your idleness. He's off.
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I'm in limbo, time to dust off an old idea and see what happens

And what colour would this prose be?