Well, I missed posting last night, because I was out gorging myself on a brilliant Indian dinner at a restaurant with the 2017 KSP Fellows and Residents Group– the life of a writer is a hard and dismal one, no?– so I missed posting an update.
Anybody who thinks numbers aren’t beautiful has never been a writer. As much as I have a love of mathematics (much like I have a love of boxing: I’m not much cop at anything beyond the basics, but by God, I love what the form can do), it’s the rise in pure numbers that gets my authorial mind smiling.
Let me show you. As of the close of business today:
- 6700 words on Ghost Tracks, taking the text from 17,500 to a shade over 24,100.
- 3000 words on Song of the Water, equalling 1 complete short story, taking the proposed collection to, in a beautiful piece of symmetry, a shade over 24,100.
- 300 words on The Ballad of Arthur Williams.
Equalling 10,000 words since I arrived here.
See? Isn’t lovely? Doesn’t that make you smile? Because it make me grin like a freaking loon.
The other thing that made me smile like a loon today was my family deciding I needed to be taken out for dinner, and driving all the way here to pick me up and take me out. I’m loving this small taste of the life I want to live– writing full-time; advancing projects on a daily basis; drinking up the solitary, reflective life of an artist– but it means nothing without the love and support of those I love, and I’ve been missing them terribly. Everything I do, everything I sacrifice, everything I undertake: without them, it’s ashes.
It’s a small thing: a meal together, some laughs and togetherness. But it gives me the motivation to keep going and do them proud.
They followed me home. Can I keep them?
A simple day, today. After the social butterflying and story completion of yesterday, it was time for a return to the word mines, and an attempt to get some serious traction on Ghost Tracks.
Having spent the last 4 days staring out at the same view, I decided to pack up my computer and head into the nearby town of Midland to write, just for the change of scenery. It worked: I managed 2500 words, and shaped up the next part of the narrative, so that the next day or two of writing should come as easily as today’s.
That represents an important turning point for me: I’m not a plotter, which means that I rarely have more than a general sense of where I’m going in the short term. I usually know where I want to end up– I have the ending of this novel all sewn up, for example– but the details of the journey are often only discovered very shortly before the characters find out. In loose terms, my writing comes to me in three stages:
It was a day of achievement today: after kissing Luscious goodbye (there are advantages to undertaking a residency within driving distance of home- a visit from your wonderful wife is one of them), I embarked upon my first engagement of the fortnight– a forty-five minute interview by the participants of the KSP Press Club, led by my old pal and fellow author Melinda Tognini.
My first full day of Residency, and it was important to set in place a routine that I can follow for my full time here. To that end, I started by being woken up at 2.30am: Greenmount may be idyllic, but it is also right under the departing flight path for Perth airport, and the planes are only a few hundred metres overhead and working hard to climb. Back in the day, I lived in Huntingdale, which is under the approach path– I got used to the sound of aircraft overhead, but that habit has not yet reasserted itself.
It is upon us: this morning, I packed myself up, hugged Luscious and the kids goodbye, and hied me to the other end of Perth to commence my 2-week live-in residency at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre.
I’ll be working on 2 projects while I’m here: Ghost Tracks, the children’s novel wherein the protagonist derails a ghost train and is forced to travel to the otherworldly dimension to make amends; and the collection of short stories about supernatural incursions into historical events in Western Australia. In addition, I’ll be attending some writers groups, conducting a workshop, and being a part of some events throughout my stay.
The Terrors pulled up three hundred metres outside the town. There were six soldiers left, only half the team that had left the Reclaimed Zone a month before. They’d known the risks—that was why Reclamation Bounties were so high. But a team is a team. The losses hit hard. Nerves were shredded. Reclamation was high stakes work, but there came a time when a team wanted to bug out, claim their R&R and spend their hard-won on the few comforts available in the Zone. The Terrors had reached that point. Even so, they’d barely relaxed before Sarge took out his scope and scanned the township at the bottom of the rise.
Into the Pit, a psychedelic, post-apocalyptic, military SF story, is completed at 5220 words, and submitted.
Along with the picture book I submitted earlier this year, that marks my second submission for 2017. Sadly, this represents a high-watermark for the last couple of years. So onto the next project, to keep this momentum rolling. I’m sure I know what the next project is……