Frustration, the blank page and nothing to read…

I have never been one for lacking anything to write, a trait that has kept me occupied and more than entertained on many an occasion. It has always been gratifying to be able to rely on my previously immutable ability to churn out something imaginative without much prevarication. However, I appear to have come up against a blank page. The dreaded writers block. It is alarming!

There is no solution to it other than continuing to write, no matter how bad the results. The fact that what I produce is unconvincing, all my prose riddled with self-doubt, and each premise utterly banal and derivative is of great concern. I await an epiphanic moment with increasing desperation.

It is not lost on me that I have not been reading much lately either. In almost every piece of advice about writing that I have ever come across, the instruction to READ, READ, READ is always in the top five.

So, if I have a strategy for writers block it is this: Read more, write into the wind.

Now, I’m off to find a novel I can get my teeth into, and hopefully the creative juices will flow as a result. Any recommendations gratefully received!

Navel-gazing comeback post of doom

It has been a while since I posted on this illustrious and rather ‘meh’ blog of mine, but be assured it was not the blogosphere I was ignoring, but the entire world… So with that in mind I thought I would ease back into it all with a gentle summation of my recent scribblings…

navelgazingLet’s see…. Well since I last mentioned anything I have done fifty thousand words of a contemporary thriller-type story set in Yorkshire in the real world/present day. That was fun, but, as usual I lost focus, and the story kind of drifted into uncertainty. C’est la vie.

And then I started another fantasy effort, which is ongoing – sixty-five thousand words so far. But I have reached that same problem that I have always had in all these projects… indecision and doubt. Lots of it. Enough to railroad it all, I fear. But I am working on it…

Not so damned easy, this writing malarky, I have decided. You may quote me on that…

Hopefully this missive will get me back into communicating with the outside world – I have been neglectful of correspondence and contact because of some stuff going on in my life at the moment. But I a trying to resolve this and get my head back on straight.

Do you know what? I hate reading navel-gazing blog posts like these, so I’ll stop now and maybe post a bit of whimsy at a later date, if I can spare the creative oomph required. In the meantime, as the great man said…Stay shiny!

A misanthrope is not just for Christmas…

All you out there full of the joys of Christmas take heed. For all the good cheer and mindless commercial excesses there are a load of folk whose preference is for cynical, misanthropic griping. I like to think I am one of those. Cheerily grumpy, is how I like to put it. We deserve respect!

Christmas is a difficult time of year for those with a contrariness bent. Be kind to us by not sending us cards. Please don’t ram the fact that you are as excited as a toddler by the whole dreary regularity of a festival that is way too excessive. Don’t get me wrong, I like excess – it’s what I’m good at – but come on now people, give it a rest.

humbug-scroogeIt’s not enough that I have to listen to f*****g carols from November onwards. Even in my local coffee shop I’ve been Bing Crosby’d to death for weeks now. I’ve even taken to walking in there with my own dirgeful music in my ears just so I don’t have to witness the excess of saccharine. If I wanted saccharine with my coffee I’d go for that sweet and low shit.

They do say that Christmas is for kids. Well if it is can they not do it quietly and at home? I am graceful enough to concede that inside the walls of a person’s house you can celebrate Christmas with all the abandon and carefree jollity of a rabid elf on ecstasy. But in the workplace? It spanks of too much desperation. Stop it, I say. Stop it right now.

And another thing, while I am embarking upon this rant, if someone doesn’t find Christmas a thrilling sherry-fuelled joy then stop calling us miserable. Let’s celebrate our diversity here, folks. I think you will find that the miserable bastards of this world (and I am one) at least have the temerity to be grumpy all year round. We don’t spend eleven months of the year in one mood and the last month ‘ho-ho-ho’ing like we have some sort of seasonal bi-polar thing going on. We are quietly and undemonstratively level-headedly misanthropic ALL YEAR ROUND. You’d have thought the regularity of that would have pleased people. But, oh no, we’re miserable bastards for not wanting to put on a paper fucking hat.

That said, have a great Christmas!


PS, done 100,000 words now, if any of you b*****s are interested…

Get thee hence, draft…

Well. That’s that then. Another 23,000 words consigned to the ever-increasing pile marked ‘Put down to experience’. Yes, it’s another writing blog post big on introspection, flimsy on entertainment. I could not blame you for being bored already, but hold on, young and easily strung-along readers, there’s more…

Having enjoyed a period of relative productivity (I have low standards) I have ground to an almighty halt. I have bored myself with my characters and story, which can only mean one thing…it’s crap. I was listening to Fantasy Faction’s podcast interview with Joe Abercrombie, that giant of modern fantasy. He said something that resonated with me;

“…if you don’t read what you write and think, actually that’s quite exciting, you’d never get past the first page.”

Characterisation is becoming distinctly problematic. I don’t have confidence in my own hodgepodge half-arsed approach and I may have to actually go and do some bloody learning on how to do it – a course or some such huge annoyance. This is not to say I will stop. The world-building is coming along. I have places I can visualise, and a general awareness of the layout and set-up. I have got an idea about the magic system that is pretty much nailed on. SO there are positives…I shall contemplate further.

Meanwhile I will start again. Surprisingly, this whole tortuous process has revealed a more refined plot and structure, though the ‘how’ to address it remains elusive.

The Coward’s Remorse

Yeah, I know, I never saw this coming either. A poem, or rather, my poem. It’s my only one. My excuse is that I wrote this long enough ago to officially be able to say I did not know better. Nowadays I’d berate myself silly for such shash. Enjoy!

Everyone ducked at the sound of the shot,
“We’re coming to get ya, ready or not!”,
It’s lucky there’s nothing to trouble a mind,
So empty of reason there’s nothing to find.

Will my last train of thought involve leaving her here?
Screaming my name as I run, filled with fear?
In a flash of inspired, fear-fuelled stupor I stop,
“Babe, I’m coming to get ya, ready or not!”.

Its a tenuous thing; this cowards remorse,
It’s too late to find God; for life to reverse,
So why is there some space, some reason to doubt,
Why I charge in hell-bent on getting you out?

The room’s full of smoke and there’s blood everywhere,
And in a heart-beat my resolve starts to tear,
When a scream from my girl sets the steel to my back,
I’ve decided, “No more! Its time to attack!”.

As the bullets zip past me I jump through a door
And roll like a gymnast over the floor,
I stop as ahead I see my girl – she’s weeping,
From a hundred new wounds her blood is now seeping.

She looks up at me and a smile lights her face,
But her eyes start to fade and my heart starts to race,
And then there’s the moment where all sentience fades,
And my heart is thrust open with millions of blades.

For a moment or two I feel hope beyond hoping,
But inside I know that I’d better start coping,
With the agony rolling around in my head,
That bitterest knowledge – I’d left her for dead…