GALLOPING ALONG IN INCHES

Managed another 895 words on The Corpse-Rat King tonight, despite the interruptions from trick-or-treating kids. I’m almost at the 10 000 word mark, which is when it really will feel like a novel project to me: after that, there’s no turning back. With the kids in bed, and Aiden out t-o-ting with friends, it was easy to get lost in the action and get some momentum going: I’ve found a whole new scene just waiting for me to get to the right point before it introduced itself and waylaid my plot. It’s going to be fun to write: my hero Marius and I are both in the dark about how to get through it, so we’ll be discovering the solution together, which I always find fun. That, however, is tomorrow night. Unlike Marius, I have a day at work tomorrow in which to day dream 🙂

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
9,628 / 90,000
(9.0%)

On a completely different subject, just how cool was Time Team tonight? An entire medieval Scottish city! One of these days I’m going to invent a time machine, go back to 1983, and kick my High School Guidance Counsellor right in her fat arse…..

CHILDREN OF MEN

Went to see it today. No review or spoilers, simply: the best SF film I have seen in years, and whilst it had its flaws and was a little slow in parts, it’s been a long time since I’ve watched an SF movie with such intelligence. Almost makes having to sit through Serenity last week worthwhile….

OOOOOHHHHH, BOOGIE BOOGIE BOOGIE…..

Aiden’s just arrived home from his trick or treating expedition, with a bag full of booty and a raging sugar-induced thirst. From which I gather he enjoyed himself 🙂

So, to commemorate his night out, and pat myself on the back for my Jack Pierce-like efforts, this is what we sent out into the streets tonight:

BEFORE:

A normal, every day boy, well adjusted and unaware of the terrible transformation that awaits him….

AFTER:

Oh My God, the horror! the horrroooorrrrr!!!!!!!!!

And yes, I know what order I put them in. But just picture Aiden’s reaction when he comes in and reads this 🙂

Song of the moment: Absolute Beginners David Bowie
Reading: On Writing Stephen King. Just recharging the motivational batteries.

CONTINUING CORPSE-RAT KING CONFABULATIONS

1071 words on Friday.
711 words on Saturday.
A night off on Sunday, due to wifely illness and extreme post-gardening knackerederocity.
306 words tonight, foreshortened due to my pressing need to actually get some frigging work done on The Memory of Breathing 2nd draft.

Still, 2088 words in 4 days is more than double my goal, so I’m quietly pleased. I’ll be combining novel work with script work for the next couple of weeks, and trying to find the time to get some necessary short story work in (I finally have the submission guidelines for Jeff Vandermeer’s pirate anthology in my possession, and as I’ve already written about the 2nd coolest things in the whole world, zeppelins, I can’t pass up the chance to add the tippity toppest coolest, can I?) so it’ll be a case of steady as she goes and try to meet the 250 word minimum each night.

Anyhoo, yon word meter:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
8,733 / 90,000
(9.0%)

A SMALL NOTE ABOUT CONTACT

I’ve been thinking recently, and I’ve come to realise something you all probably have known for ages:

I’m rubbish when it comes to phoning people.

I keep promising, and somehow, it just never happens. And it occured to me today, that the reason for this is that I’m just not comfortable on the phone anymore. I’ve become increasingly hermit-like in the last 5 years, and now, well, email is definitely my preferred medium. I’m a letter writer by inclination, and honestly, by choice.

Hey, self-recognition is the first step.

So from now on, no promises to ring. It just results in disappointment. But, and you can bank this, contact me by email and you will get a reply. And I am likely to use email to get hold of you, when the need arises. It’s just easier that way.

120 DAYS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

Bet you thought I’d forgotten my 120 tasks in 120 days goal, didn’t you? Well, kids, there’s a reason I’ve not been updating it. See, things have changed at the Batthome, and the tasks I’ve set myself are no longer relevant. At least, they’re not as intricate and grandiose as I’d originally planned, so I’ve jettisoned the list, and the page along with it, in favour of simply getting the house neat and the garden looking nice rather than resembling the work of Don Burke’s Demon Master.

You see, Luscious and I have been talking, And, wel….

WE’RE GOING TO BRISBANE!

That’s right, folks. Lyn and I have decided that it’s time for a change: of horizon, viewpoint, and possibilities, so in January of 2008 we’re upping sticks and heading to Brisbania to begin anew.

I’ve lived in Perth since I was 8 years old. I’m 35 now, and it just doesn’t feel like there’s anything new this city can offer me. I’m itchy to be somewhere else, to scrape away some of the baggage and ennui that has enveloped me in recent days. I want to feel excited again, about where I live, what I’m seeing, what I have yet to discover. I want to explore again, and I haven’t done that in years. And there’s a lot of baggage in Perth, a lot of ice on my wings, barnacles on my keel, drag in my chute…. now you know why I’m such a funny shape 🙂

15 months may seem like a long time away, but it’s a good point for embarkation. Erin will be about to start her first year of proper schooling, Aiden will be past the Year 9 hurdle and about to begin Year 10, and Blakey (who has stated that he wishes to come with us for the first year, and then decide whether he wants to stay with us or return to his father) will have a year of High School under his belt. And it gives us 15 months to get the house and gardens looking as we want them, to save up money for the move, and lay some preparations for employment, house hunting, and getting involved in the writer’s centres.

We’ve loved Brisbane from the first time we saw it, and the kids had the best holiday of their lives there in 2005, so we’re keen as a bunch of keeny keen things to get there and start afresh. So we are.

There will be updates along the way. Many updates…

OH, ‘TIS A THING OF BEAUTY

For a while now, I’ve been trying to persuade my best friend Seanie to get hisself a durn blog. I’ve known Sean for 17 years, and one of the reasons we’ve stayed friends for so long is that he, more than any friend I’ve ever had, has the ability to send me rolling across the floor in paroxysms of laughter.

Anyway, he’s finally caved in, and this is the result. Typical of him, he’s pulled something out of the hat unlike anything I expected, and it’s well worth the wait.

I’ll be sticking it up on The Batthome as a permanent link during my next site update, possibly this weekend.

Song of the moment: Jump David Bowie
Reading: Script notes for The Memory of Breathing

CORPSE-RAT

Another 559 words tonight, and the end of chapter 2. Progress might be limited over the weekend, as I turn my attention to the 2nd script draft for The Memory of Breathing for a few days, but I’ll keep chipping in and keep the momentum going: I know what happens in the next little arc of the story, so I can at least keep track.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6,645 / 90,000
(6.0%)
Song of the moment: Burn The Cure
Reading: Dave Allen, The Biography Carolyn Soutar

SMALL PLEASURES

My work is… well, it’s work, you know? I don’t hate it, but it’s hardly like acquiring superpowers when it comes to generating any excitement into my day.

But my family constantly excite and surprise me. Like today, when Lyn rang just before lunch to say she and the kids were ten minutes away, and where should we meet?

Sometimes that’s all you need 🙂

ANOTHER PERCENT BITES THE DUST

A bit of a short writing burst tonight: I’m tired, and 290 words got me past my daily target and the plot to a nice juncture for me to jump back on tomorrow evening. Still, progress is progress, and it’s nights like tonight that are the reason I deliberately chose a low target. So:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter

6,086 / 90,000
(6.0%)

Right now the tone is all over the place, and because I’m writing this one from a very loose framework, I’ve no idea whether the pacing is going to work or not. But I’m enjoying this way of working: I’m only ever one step ahead of my hero, and although I have a notion of where I want things to go, I don’t know how they’ll end up or what will happen along the way. My internal plot-creator is only about 3 events ahead of the page, which is keeping the process exciting, and helping to get me back to the keyboard every night. I want to find out what’s going to happen, dammit!

Besides, I can always fix it in the 2nd draft 🙂

TOWARDS A THEORY OF PRODUCTIVITY

What with my newfound productivity, and discussions at the LJs of Jay Lake, Martin Livings, and Deborah Biancotti in recent days, I’ve been thinking about rhythm, and inspiration, and how a writer comes to grips with the needs of their craft. And me being me, I’ve got a theory.

Jay is prolific, and writes regularly. Daily. Deb is sporadic, and completes very few stories per year. Recently, she’s been having somewhat of an existential crisis: does she write enough? Should she be more regular? Is waiting for inspiration the naive work practice of an amateur? And so on. Martin is having a similar response, brought on by some stupid comments at an anonymous LJ, and his own natural self-doubts. Note: nowhere is this about the quality of their writing. Deb and MJL are fantastic writers. But, they doubt, and in the face of Jay’s beliefs about the writing process, it’s got me thinking. So, for what it’s worth:

I’m not saying this works for anybody but me, but I’m probably at the opposite end of the spectrum to Deb, and closer to the Jay Lake/Sean Williams end in that I benefit from putting words down every day, no matter how few. I need rhythm and momentum to work at my best, and that comes from advancing every day, rather than writing in bursts.

My problem has always been finding time to get the words in: when I’m not writing, that’s when the depression sets in and that’s when it gets harder to write, so I get more depressed…. (insert sound of a burning Spitfire)

Where Deb and Martin struggle is in coming to terms with the fact that they’re not built that way: for them, the “muse” (and oh, I could pontificate on the bullshitness of a muse) strikes irregularly, and they are more comfortable waiting for the inspiration than trotting words out every day.

Martin and Deb are burst writers, not momentum writers. The thing is: it doesn’t matter which type you are. Write every day, or when the mood takes you. As long as what results is writing with which you are happy. The most important part of the game is perseverence. If it takes you a week to finish a story, that’s no different than taking a year, as long as you put all the right words in the right order. One practice makes you prolific, that’s all. Deb and Martin hit the Year’s Best lists as often as I do, despite the fact that I publish sometimes up to 3 times more than them added together. The quantity is moot. It’s the quality that is remembered.

Or as I said to Martin in conversation recently: it doesn’t matter if I have 70 unfinished short stories, and you have 2. We still have the same amount of product– nada.

Momentum or burst. They’re both equally valid ways of writing. It’s when you work out which type you are that you become comfortable with your working practices, and can become happy with how you produce.