Robbie, Sharpie, Mr.Dick and Neil Fitter Motherfucker. Let alone can I finish the novel I started 5 years ago in my final year of Uni? No I can’t. But I will.
The plan is to force myself to write something on this blog every day. Not exactly a diary, because I don’t want everyone (Who? Nobody reads this) to know all I do, but I’m sure I’ve got enough opinions to go around. It’s practice. It’s to get myself thinking about wordplay, prose, and the like. I’m taking my inspiration (i.e. copying) from comedian Richard Herring’s blog Warming Up which he has written every day since 2002 (about 2700 entries). Undoubtedly he has a lot more to write about, given that he is the least successful member of a comedy duo from the 90s who no-one remembers, as well as a touring stand-up, novelist and playwright. Whereas I am an under-employed, unemployed, aspiring artist, businessman, and novelist. Perhaps if I make some headway in one of my pursuits, these blog posts will become more interesting.
I started a story called Now I Remember the Slug which was basically the opening chapter of a novel. The setting was Lancaster and Morecambe, rich in history, setting of a cockle-picking tragedy, and a tedious place to live. The set-up was a young man discovering a corpse in a van under mysterious circumstances, then in a seemingly unrelated event being attacked and beaten on the canal path. This holds obvious possibilities for development. Where did the body come from? Who was he? What are circumstances leading up to the mysterious discovery, and where will it lead our characters? Until recently I have never been able to answer these questions, so all attempts to advance the story have painfully faltered.
Now the complete story has been coming to me: Character development (both of lead and support roles), plot, back-story, conceptual themes, dénouement, sub-plots, everything is revealed. There is still a hell of a lot of work to do and I will not be revealing the details of the plot here until necessary. I have many of the pieces of the story, which need arranging into a coherent whole. I have partially mapped out plot~ and character development, and have many other loose elements floating nearby. Then there is the majority of the writing to be done. I already have 10,000 words (including the chapter written 5 years ago), that leaves me approximately 80-100,000 more words to do, not including rewrites/redrafts.
I bumped into Craig (surname temporarily forgotten) who was in my writing class at Uni. He boasted that he had finally finished his novel and he would like me to read it sometime. If I know him (which I don’t really), it’ll be bloody good. He was definitely one of the top writers in my class (as was I, no doubt about it), so I have to properly push myself to fulfil my own high standards, and those of my peers.
Time to brush up on my fiction-writing heroes: Chuck Palahniuk, David Mitchell (not the one from Peep Show or the former Tory MP), and the minimalist short stories of Amy Hempel and Raymond Carver.
Personally I hate Stephen King's writing, but he was right on point when he said:
“If you haven’t got the time to read, you haven’t got the time or the tools to write”.