DAY TWO

Day two of my self-enforced return to writing via Nanowrimo. I’ve set myself a target of 500 words per day, and so far, I’ve managed just that. 506 yesterday, 780 today. Small feed compared to some of the days I’ve had in the past, but the past is just that. Nothing I’ve done before matters.

I’ve managed two five hundred-word days in a row, for the first time in at least two years. So far, so good.

ON WRITING, OR THE NOT THEREOF, OR FINDING YOUR FEET IN THE DARK WITH YOUR EYES POKED OUT.

It’s been a terrible couple of years. For a variety of reasons — workplace bullying, depression, and family tragedies being amongst those you know about — my writing output since Magrit saw publication in 2016 has dropped to zero, and that only because it’s impossible to write negative numbers of words. I haven’t sold anything in something like two years, haven’t seen myself in print since I don’t know when, and earlier this year decided that I was no longer going to consider myself a writer. That course had run itself. I was toasted.

Continue reading “ON WRITING, OR THE NOT THEREOF, OR FINDING YOUR FEET IN THE DARK WITH YOUR EYES POKED OUT.”

WRITING ALONG, ALONG, ALONG THE HIGHWAY

This Monday I’ll be out at Mundijong Library running a writing workshop as part of this year’s Write Along the Highway program. Last year’s workshop was a barrel of fun, and I’ve got a mass of weird and wonderful exercises to push your boundaries all lined up. There are still places, so get on board and register on the WAtH website. Here’s a little taste– one I’ve dubbed The Princes in the Tower:

1. Describe an unusual interior space, one with lots of interesting appendages, gadgets, signs and/or features: an aircraft carrier; back room of a wunderkammer; boiler room of an apartment complex; restoration room of a museum, etc. The room must be a) real (no wizard towers, mines of Moria, etc) and b) innocent in purpose (no serial killer den or torture chambers)

2. Place two children in this space. Give them two possible reasons for being there– one perfectly logical, the other less apparent.

3. One of these children will now die, for one of the reasons you have outlined. Make it so.



For this and more light-hearted, frabjous fungasms of writing joy– check in, register, and join us!

NANO NANO NANO NANO NANO…. BATMAN! (I’M PRETTY SURE I MADE THAT JOKE LAST YEAR)

So Nanowrimo is upon us once again, (This is me: feel free to buddy up) and once again I’m using the month to concentrate on words and give myself permission to prioritise my writing over the distractions in my life.

Yeah, I know I’m a pro and writing is an important aspect of both my personality and my artistic career. But I’m also a man with a metric fucktonne of duties and responsibilities and sometimes I need the crutch to lean on. I’m happy for you if you don’t understand this, and good luck to ye’s. Me, I lie the feeling of having permission, so here I am.

This year’s project is Bear Hunt, and it’s starting out as a load of fun because, for the first time in a long time, it’s not remotely speculative. It’s a straight crime novel, and here’s the brief I’ve set myself:

Somebody dragged Bear back into the life. Somebody made him a criminal again. And now somebody’s spying on him. Doesn’t matter if it’s the cops or the crims. Somebody’s going to pay.

Sound fun? It’d better, because I’m probably going to bore you shitless with updates as the month progresses. So just to give you a little taster– and in the full spirit of understanding that this is a first draft, and for me, a loose one with no internal editor present– here’s a few lines to get us all started:


None of what went down would have happened if Bear hadn’t got himself banged up on a DUI charge. Bang to rights, too: point two over the limit, and the blood test confirmed it. So they took his car and stood him up in front of the magistrate in his only suit, and no amount of pleading that he needed his licence to ferry Mum back and forth to hospital and her therapist appointments were enough to save him, not with his record. Disqualified from driving, and his application for an extraordinary licence binned before it even started because extraordinaries are for work purposes only, Mister Burrage, as you well now. Then they spat him out, to stand blinking on the steps of the Mandurah courthouse, wondering how the hell he was going to explain it to Mum and trying to loosen his tie with thick, shaking fingers. Which was a bad time for a weaselly little prick like Gavin Sullivan to slide up from the shade of the nearby car park, but then, no time was ever a good time to have a weaselly little prick like him smiling his slimy smile at you.



Progress charts after day one are about as much use as publishing league tables after the first round of matches, but with a daily quota of 1667 words to make Nano’s target of 50 000 in the month, I’m mildly pleased to report that I’ve completed 2362. So here’s a progress pie chart.

Mmmmm, pie.

OOT AND ABOOT

One of the loveliest side-effects of reaching a certain credibility as an author (and clearly, as I seem to have reached it, the level ain’t that high) is the occasional opportunity to be sally forth and speak to groups of people without requiring your beloved partner-for-life having to follow along two steps behind you apologising to everyone.

Luscious, for those who have not met her, occasionally introduces us at social gathering with the phrase “This is my husband, Lee, and I’m the person who apologises for him”. She also occasionally waits until we’re in a shopping centre aisle full of old women before shouting “What do you mean I’m fat?” with no fucking provocation whatsoever.

Luscious is occasionally a sick sod 🙂

For the last 4 years I’ve been drawn back to my old stomping grounds at Curtin University to give a guest lecture on social media at the School of Internet Studies, an exercise designed to make me feel old, as not only was there no School of Internet Studies when I studied at Curtin there was no actual sodding internet. I made my annual pilgrimage there again this past week, and as always, absolutely loved it: it’s a chance to combine day job and writing career expertise as well as expose students to a free form way of thinking they may not get from a structured curriculum– I can’t imagine many courses compare social media to Russian tampon adverts, for a start– and you know you’re doing well when you receive Facebook friends requests halfway through the lecture from people in the room.

I’m also off to Churchlands Senior High School next week to talk about writing competitions and ideas generation. I’ve done a couple of school gigs in recent years, and they’re generally a lot of fun. It’s incredibly easy to see which students are there by choice and which are there because they have no other choice, and once you call them out on it you can function in a room full of good will and laughter. Teenagers may be moody buggers but those moods swing both ways: get them laughing and they’ll be your friend for life, at least as long as the workshop lasts, and story generation is genuinely the most enjoyable part of the process for me, so we get a lot of writing done, look at a lot of funny photographs, and generally have a fab and groovy time.

And, lastly, I’ll be heading along to Write Along the Highway twice in November as part of this year’s Nanowrimo: I’ll be the subject of an author talk and workshop at Mundijong Library on the 18th and a panellist at the big Write Night! event at the South Perth Community Hall on the evening of the 26th. Details are being finalised, and I’ll remind you as they’re released to the general public, but spaces for these types of events are limited, so if they sound like your thing, it might be worth contacting the organisation soon.

NANOTWOMO

Well, I’ve done it: I’ve signed on to Nanowrimo again for another year. This year’s project is officially Canals of Anguilar, the fantasy novel set in a city entirely populated by cowards I’ve mentioned earlier, but there’s likely to be some switching going on– I’ve just started a mainstream project with the alluring and sexy title of Killer Thing (pick the title in progress…) and I’ll be wanting to throw some words down on that one while the impetus is still fresh.

Working on two projects is allowed, right?

Anyway, come along and join me if you’re as novelling sort, and feel free to buddy me up. I’m not fussy: I’ll be friends with anyone who smiles at me the right way 🙂

(raises glass). Here’s to words.

N-OVER-EMBER

Agh, finally.

Yes, today is officially the second day of the following month, but for us, with the last of Erin’s friends having just left from her birthday sleepover, November is finally, finally over.

November means:

Nanowrimo. I acted as ML for my region for the third year, as well as working on Father Muerte & the Divine, for which I wrote a shade over 43 000 words, and completed. I topped up the other 6 000 and a bit words by beginning The Sin-Eater’s Lonely Children, working on the Muerte synopses, and various associated fiction tasks.

The Day Job’s Literary Month, involving organising and running a five hour writing marathon on a Saturday night complete with guest speakers and a metric fuckload of giveways; the awards presentation for the City’s short story competition on a Tuesday night; and a two hour seminar by Dr Helen Merrick on the following evening. All within a week of each other.

Three birthdays: mine, Connor’s, and Erin’s. Connor and Erin had a birthday party each. On the same day. At two different locations. Never. Bloody. Again.

Nnovvember. My first attempt at contributing to this mass Lego community initiative, to build a Vic Viper model to help commemorate the passing of popular builder and AFOL Nate ‘nnenn’ Neilson.

All this on top of the usual writing work, day job work, family commitments, swimming lessons, preparing the house for sale, blah blah etcetera and so forth.

I’m buggered.

BUT: I have a completed novel, two happy kids, new Lego for myself, no more work events for the rest of the year, and the first Lego MOC I’ve built that I think matches up to the rest of the Flickr stream, so we’ll call it a draw and now I’m going back to bed.

And because I promised, here are the pictures of the finished Viper.

From the top

Facing

From the rear, showing greebles and biplane wings

Side view, showing twin forward pods, and the connection between hull and engine, which…

…rotates.

And the underside, with all the transparent goodness and weapony-looking bits.

Comin’ atcha!

BOLLOCKS

Damn, I just noticed: that damn word count widgetty things updates every damn instance of it each time it updates.

Ignore the ones in the text column, my peeps. I’ve put one in the sidebar now.

(I have peeps?)

NANO NANO NANO NANO BATMAAAAN!!!!!

It’s November, that time of the year which should be all about my birthday but is instead all about everybody else’s birthday, Americans playing spin-the-bottle-win-a-fuckwit, my day job providing umpty millions of opportunities for all the other writers in the region to get their wordfreak on, and me running around trying to please everybody and getting fuck all done on the personal front.

Except, of course, that I got me two weeks holidays, so suck on that, hidden Overlords of the Universe. Coz I get to stay home all day and do Nanowrimo, at least until next Wednesday.

Angry Robot duties are in abeyance for the moment– Marching Dead has been delivered and I’m quietly waiting for the edits to come back and ruin my Christmas– so I’ve turned my attention back to Father Muerte & The Divine, with a self-imposed brief to have the bastard finished by the end of the month and a synopsis package in the hands of my agent in time to ruin his Christmas by making him sell the damned thing for me.

6 days in, I’ve managed 15 000 words. Helps to have time off and a project you’re already 50 000 words into, no?

Right now it’s my usual melange of weird, unrelated shit, pummelled together without rhyme nor reason in the hope that not too many bits fall off once the editing starts: time travelling Benito Mussolinis; intelligent dinosaur ghosts; the Fall of Lucifer; the Red Baron’s previously unknown fetish for post World War I biplanes; rain cycles; pareidolia; the stone of Scone; the hive mind of children; philosopher’s stones; live human skinning; and 4 dimensional Maxwell’s Demons abound, there’s still another 30 or 40 000 word to go.

As Cupid Stunt would say, it’s all done in the best POSSible taste!

Anyway, for those who’d like to play word count progress bingo, some cute little widgets, courtesy of nano:



NANOWRIMO: MORE THAN HALF WAY THROUGH, AND WHAT HAVE I GOT?

A lot of catching up to do, that’s what.
My problem is, I’ve spent quite a lot of the month setting events up so that other people can reach their word counts. No complaints: it’s my job, and I get paid quite nicely to do it. But my own word count has suffered while I do so.
My default attitude to such setbacks is, well, fairly egocentric: I may not have written (insert correct number) of words, but the ones I have written are saleable. I’d rather have (pathetic total I’ve managed to reach) saleable words than (much larger total I should have reached by now) shit ones. When you’re as good as I am, you don’t need to rush. Just get the job done right. 
I mentioned the egocentric bit, right?
This attitude, of course, works if you’re sure the ones you’ve written will sell. Otherwise, you do kind of come across like the guy who boasts about having umpty million sales without mentioning that you’ve sold half of them to yourself, or that bloke at the other end of the bar with the bomber jacket and doberman pinscher talking about what a stud he is, but his big 4 wheel drive seems suspiciously empty of girlfriend…. 
I, of course, have a magnificent track record when it comes to novels. You’ll remember my stunning debut…. uh…. and of course, who could forget the breakthrough trilogy, The…. ummm… Chronicles? Then of course….. oh, all right.
Back to the word mines.
If anybody sees my doberman pinscher, tell him to come home. I’m lonely, and I don’t like the dark.


 
So far, so… far.

NANO: END OF THE FIRST WEEKEND

So far, so good Corpse-Rat lovers, and yes I know how bad that sounds, but think of the fun that’s going to cause on the search engines 🙂

It’s been one hell of a disrupted weekend: on Friday we moved the Teen Family into their new digs across town, and on Saturday morning moved our son back after a split-up that can only be described as ‘messy’, although ‘used and betrayed’ also springs to mind. Much comfort and support has been offered, and much future will now hopefully be grasped with both hands.

But amongst it all, I’ve managed to get some keyboard time, and as always seems to be the case when I push the writing processes a little harder than they might be ready for, subplots have revealed themselves with startling regularity. One of the hard parts of writing a sequel– a task I’ve only attempted with the Father Muerte short stories– is trying to creating the core of what made the original work without repeating yourself in either action, theme, or consequence. Unless, of course, you’re Piers Anthony, in which case, only the names have been changed to protect the gullible….

But progress it does, and in a way that’s keeping me entertained. Let’s hope that continues. For at least another 89 000 words, anyway…

 

NANOWRIMO DAY ONE

You know how it is when you’re all prepared to spend a month writing 50 000 words of a novel, and you have a cool title and a kinda-sorta-as-much-as-you-ever-have idea of, if not how the whole thing is going to go, well, at least kinda-sorta-as-much-as-you-ever-have how the thing is going to start, right?

And you know how you wake up on day one of the month, knowing you need to write at least 1667 words of this idea today, and back that up tomorrow, and the day after and so on, and the little man who lives at the back of your mind shows up in his coat and hat, carrying a suitcase, and posts a sticky note on the back of your eyes that says simply “Fuck you, buddy, you’re on your own.”?

Sigh.

Goodbye The Sin-Eater’s Lonely Children. Hello Corpse-Rat King: Rising Dead.

I wasn’t going to write a sequel. I really wasn’t. But, you know, I got me an agent, and I had the idea kicking about, and it escalates really nicely from the first book…..

Nanowrimo day one:


1836 / 50000 (3.67%)

PLENTY OF TIME BEFORE NANO STARTS AGAIN… OH, SHIT.

So Nanowrimo officially starts in 4 hours and 26 minutes.

shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shitshit shit shit shit shit shitshit shit shit shit shit shit.

See, much of my day job these past few weeks has involved getting a literary programme up and running to coincide with Nanowrimo. And I’ve done, if I may say so myself, a pretty damn good job: Juliet Marillier is coming down to give two Master Classes; Anna Jacobs and Bevan McGuiness will be presiding over a writing marathon with over 20 sponsors providing prizes and promotional material to give away; I’ve got regular write-ins happening; and if all goes to plan I’ll be announcing a new poetry competition, judged by Maureen Sexton,  to tie in with one of our major sculpture exhibitions. All in all, it’s looking like liter-a-frikkin-palooza.

Only problem is, I’ve done sod-all preparation of my own.

I’ve never headed into a Nano with anything less than a firm idea of where I’ll be in 50K time: whether it be a project I was already 10 000 words into (Corpse-Rat King), or one involving characters I’d worked with 4 times before and a couple of thousand words of notes I’d accumulated over six years of thinking about the plot (Father Muerte & The Divine), I’ve always known exactly what was likely to happen, where I was going, and where I expected to be at the end of the month.

This time, I have a title and the opening of the first scene.

Wish me luck.

1000! 1000 POSTS, WA-HAHAHAHAAAAA!

Wot ‘e sez.

‘Tis true: my 1000th post, and how fitting that it should be by way of a general Nate of the Station update. For it has been a busy couple of weeks, my little cabbage-leaf wrapped spatchcocks, and much WriterGuy goodness has been noticed.

We’re five weeks into the first intake of the Australian Writers Marketplace Online SF Course, and the second intake has now begun: it’s not too late to enrol, and we’re only chatting amongst ourselves until you can make it.

My first set of students have become analytical T-Rex’s and are producing story beginning after story beginning– there will be some hypercharged writers with a trunk full of stories coming atcha in the next couple of months, and it’s been gratifying to watch as they turn on to what I’m teaching and apply the lessons to their own writing. It really is quite amazing how an author’s work can evolve in a short period of time just by absorbing a few well-placed lessons, and there are a couple of names who are going to come out of this course and establish themselves over the next year or so. At which point I shall claim bragging rights and mango beer tributes in equal measure.

The agent search for The Corpse-Rat King continues: I’ve had a number of requests for partials, and one full has been asked for as well, so even though the rejections come regularly there’s enough interest out there to keep my spirits up. The adjustment from short stories to novels is a sharp one, and I have to keep reminding myself that it was a long time between writing my first short and selling my first, and that I can’t expect to simply pen my first longer work and have the world fall at my feet. Will I sell this one? Dunno. Will I have the patience and fortitude to write three, five, eight novels before I sell one? Fuck, I hope I don’t have to. But if I do, so be it. Everything is a learning curve. Still, let’s hope I sell CRK and we can go from there…

On the appearance front, I’ll be heading out into the wide world in my WriterGuy disguise on a couple of occasions over the coming months:

Luscious and I have both been shortlisted in this year’s KSP Speculative Fiction Awards, and I’ve been invited to attend as the guest author for the day, so I’ll be giving a little speech about my writing life and philosophies (and trying not to sob) as well as giving a reading, kissing babies, and doing the watusi with any stray gypsies who may be passing. Join us on the 14th August at the KSP Writers Centre to find out the winners and share in the general bonhomie and watusiriness.

I’ll also be heading out to Curtin University on the 26th of September to deliver a guest lecture to a Web Publishing class on social media and how I use it as part of my Dayjob and WriterGuy goings on. (Part of their Internet Communications Major, and how old does that make me feel? You can get a degree in the Internet. A degree. Does your degree come in pdf? I’m going to have a Horlicks and listen to my 78s will I think about it). That’s right, me: the guy who couldn’t get Google + to work, and still can’t get it to link to FB and Twitter properly. Me. Anyone else as amused by the thought as I am? Send your reply via this blog, my website, my Amazon page, twitter feed, Goodreads page, LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Google +, AHWA member page, or Livejournal RSS feed, or just tag this blog on Stumbleupon like any reasonable person would….

Lastly, as part of Dayjob World, I’ve taken up the mantle of Municipal Liaison for the Rockingham/Mandurah region of Nanowrimo once again, and have already started to compile the activities and prizes to keep everyone racing towards their 50 000 word target. Last year we conducted a series of workshops with Simon Haynes, Dave Luckett and Tehani Wessely as speakers. This year we’ll be holding a masterclass with an internationally-renowned Fantasy author from Perth who shall not be named just yet because we’re still confirming details but she’s very cool and one of my favourite people in the biz, and I’m busy gathering prizes for The Night of Writing Dangerously event to be held on the 12th: five hours of catered writing time broken only by prize giveaways, competitions, and the opportunity to go head to head with an established pro to win yourselves goodies. More details as they come closer to hand, but if you really want to join in you could always register on the Nanowrimo website, join the Rockingham/Mandurah region, and take part in the write-ins that we’ll be holding. All the cool kids will be doing it.

And that, for the moment, is about it. How was your day, my darlings?

SEVEN DAYS IN

So, Nanowrimo is seven days old, and amidst my Municipal Liaison duties, administering the Rod Garlett exhibition Sands of Gulgulga (and here) at the Kent Street Gallery, and organising the City of Rockingham’s own Nanowrimo events (3 rather cool writing/speaking events entitled “Nano Cafe”, with speakers Simon Haynes, Tehani Wessely and Dave Luckett), I’ve managed to get me just over 12 000 words down.

12 114 to be exact, on the long-talked about but never-anything-actually-anything-done-about Father Muerte novel, Father Muerte & The Divine.

In good old fashioned Nano tradition, word count is nothing without a widget, so here be my first Nano widgety o’meter-ness:

12114 / 50000 (24.23%)

Plenty left to go, but a start is a start.

And tomorrow, they step through a rift in space and visit a civilisation of highly intelligent parallel-evolution dinosaur ghosts.

In all honesty.

ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, NANO!

National Novel Writing Month kicks off in a few days, and I will be bellying up to the nanobar again and trying to get some words down amidst the madness of a work-heavy month. If you’re also attempting to climb the word mountain, you can find me under the username leebattersby.

For my sins, I’ve persuaded the Nanos-that-be to create a new region—Rockingham/Mandurah—and if you’re local to that region then sign on up: a certain little black duck has been named Municipal Liaison, and I’ll be organising a bunch of stuff across the month to keep us all amused.

I’ll also be working on something I’ve threatened for a while: Father Muerte And The Divine, the long-avoided-being-thunked-about Father Muerte novel. Fans of the series have permission to send kind thoughts in the direction of my computer….

NANO PROGRESS

11 times 1667 equals 18 337.

Which is rather more than the 13 717 words I’ve completed so far this month. I’ve had a couple of days away from the computer here and there, so my targets are down, but I’ve always been quicker towards the end of a project than I am at the start, so I’m not that worried. Nano is, of course, just a guide as far as I’m concerned. My object is to complete a saleable novel, not to complete 50000 words. But it is a good way of getting your arse applied to the seat, and I’m in dire need of that.

I had 5 goals at the start of the year. Losing weight to 95 kilograms isn’t going to happen, but completing Corpse-Rat King and starting a second novel will be achieved, and a month ago I would not have said it was likely. It’s likely, in fact, that I’ll have completed Corpse-Rat King and completed a second novel.

And for that, you can colour me pleased.

NANOWRIMO DAY ONE

Day one of Nano completed, and a couple of hours down the foreshore with Lyn, her best friend Terri, and the sort of view out the cafe window that people in ludicrously large sunglasses who call themselves names like ‘Pip’ and ‘Biffie’ spend millions trying to find, and…. well, it’s a start anyway. After over a year working on Corpse-Rat King, especially when I’m so close to the end, shifting gears to starting a fresh work that’s so completely different is a wrench and a half, but I churned out some wordage, and, well, weeeeeeee.

November’s a birthday-heavy month and the desire of my workplace to fuck me over at any available opportunity is going to present some challenges, but all things being equal (excepting, of course, odd numbers), I may have 2 completed novels by the end of the year.
Which will be nice.
And so to the word meters–

1754 / 50000
3.51%

MOVING ALONG

Fine, thanks. How are you?
Corpse-Rat King is lurching towards a conclusion. I’ve completed 95 000 words and have one longish section towards the end to knit togvether and the first draft will be completed. Say another 2 or 3 thousand words tops, and then I can let it stew until January before I go back and begin carving it up into tiny little pieces and painting them different colours.
Oh, and I’ve joined Nanowrimo again this year. The project this time round is a novelisation of my TV script Cirque, which garnered some positive comments from last year’s WA Film Corporation script competition without managing to win. If you’re of a mind to join the program (or already have) and want to buddy up, I’m entered under the name leebattersby, and my page is here.
Elsewhere, domesticity reigns. Mandurah in spring is a groovelicious thing: we pressed the nostalgia buttion big time the other weekend by packing the kids up and catching the ferry over to Penguin Island, prompting me to tell anyone who’d listen about how the last time I’d gone over, back in 1990 when I was still living in Rockingham, I’d walked across on the sandbar; how there were no boardwalks and we could clamber over all the rock faces that are now sealed off for the bird sanctuary; how I’d stayed at the camp buildings that stood where the penguin feeding area stands now; how we’d sat under the caves that are now sealed off beause of the falling risk…. in between my old man stories we spent a gorgeous afternoon beachcombing for shells, sharing lunch with the enormous skinks that invaded the picnic area, and embarking on the glass-bottom boat tour to Seal Island to watch seals play in the surf and a solitary dolphin bully a stingray out of its meal.
Idyllic? Bloody paradise, mate.
Lyn and the kids find the perfect spot to start building a hut, whilst I go looking for coconuts with which to start building a radio.
Hello, laaaaaaaaaaaadies.
The side of human/animal interactions that PETA doesn’t tell you about– a skink with a shoe fetish. Tragic, just tragic.
Minemineminemineminemineminemineminemine….

WELL, THAT’S NOVEMBER….

So, there it is. 52 097 words completed during Nanowrimo, as of this morning, and as I’ll have no chance to add to them today, I think we can call that a wrap.

The Corpse-Rat King itself is nudging 65 000 words, and Marius don Hellespont has taken his first steps towards redemption, accepting the facts about what he has done in the past and where his life has led him. The narrative is firmly turned towards home, and while there are a few wrinkles to be had along the way, we’re now stepping along the road towards the inevitable climax. All the travelling outwards has been written, now it’s just a matter of bringing everything back towards the single, defining point.

Due to the kids’ party yesterday, and the need to take all our household junk out to the verge for kerbside collection today, I’m having a weekend off. But the 1500 word a day habit begins again tomorrow, so I’m looking towards having a first draft in place by (roughly) the end of the year.

Then we’ll see how much of a fool’s errand this second novel has been…