Sunday, 29 July 2007


Writing is something you do on your own. Even if you are capable of working in crowded, noisy places, it is because you have the capacity to shut that out and move inside your head. It is all too easy to feel isolated and if you do not have contact with other writers (or those sympathetic to what you do), it can be a very large part of your life that you never get to share.

Some people cope with this, and it certainly helps if your endeavours have been validated through publication. Many, however, need contact with other writers. This is not necessarily so they can spend evenings discussing the merits or otherwise of adverbs over a glass or six of wine. It is simply so they can share a bit of time with people they know are going through the same problems as themselves - people who understand what it is like to have a whole chapter in your head that you cannot get written down; who know how it feels to read and re-read a piece of work you know could be improved without being able to see how to do it; who know the agonies of preparing submissions, waiting weeks (and sometimes months) before a response arrives, and getting miserable when it is yet another rejection.

In fact, when I communicate with other writers it is, often as not, a chance to let off steam in all sorts of ways. Moaning about publishers is the least of it (although there is always plenty there to get vexed about). It is usually about families, health, gardens, sheds, the general stupidities of the world, penguins (don't ask - you would be very disappointed if you discovered what present and future scions of the literary world get up to when they can't be arsed to do any writing), chocolate, and ends with people trying to out-pun each other.

I find this incredibly refreshing (I never said I was normal); and I find it extremely supportive. And this is the point of this little ramble. I am blessed with a group of friends (writers and artists) who are by turns boisterous (sometimes even rowdy), sympathetic, supportive, frighteningly intelligent, and always there when you need them.

To you, my friends, I raise a glass. May agents and publishers beat a path to your door.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Not written a thing...

...but i don't care. The weather has been fine (sorry folks, but we have actually been having a bit of a summer up here) and I have been outside destroying a drill and several bits in an attempt to carry out the next phase of constructing our garden shed. What with that and yesterday's visit from friends from Canada, putting words on paper has not happened. Perhaps when the sun has gone down.

When the world has quietened down and I can put my headphones on (a bit of Hawkwind will go down very nicely, I think), I can make a start on chapter 16.

Friday, 27 July 2007


...are important. And the art of producing a title that is accurate and catchy is extremely difficult. There are fashions in these things. But whether you go for a single word or complex phrase, it has to entice the browser to take the book from the shelf and then stick in the mind.

I have been thinking about titles for the Charlie Cornelius books. There is no pressure to come up with anything, and I'm certain something in the text will prompt that perfect phrase. At the moment I use the following working titles on my folders: 1 - The Best Days; 2 - All The Fun; 3 - Years of Grace; 4 - Blue Shift.

These are entirely personal and not very catchy, although I must confess to a liking for 'Blue Shift'. It will be interesting to see how these evolve into the final titles.

Thursday, 26 July 2007


I have just finished chapter fifteen of my work in progress, the as yet untitled adventures of Charlie Cornelius. This work is developing beyond my expectations. I had originally intended a novel of some 80,000 words that covered four phases of Charlie's life. 36,000 words in and I am only half way through the first phase. This is both good and bad. It is good in that it means there will probably be four novels instead of one. It is bad in that it means there will probably be four novels instead of one.

Series of books are notoriously difficult to sell these days, especially for an 'unknown' like me. This means I will have to be cunning and write the first so that it seems complete in itself, but is sufficiently open ended to allow sequels. Seems a shabby way to write, if you ask me; one eye always on how the money 'men' will react.

Of course, that presupposes anyone would be interested in publishing it. I am not overly optimistic.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Thank you for your patience

This blog is now up and running. Well, it will probably hobble.