Tuesday, October 31, 2006

C - Day

The 13th of November, 2006, is C-Day.

C-Day is Commitment Day: the first day of my commitment to produce my very first novel. This is a commitment to myself (and to a lesser degree to my long suffering Jingo) to put in the necessary hours and work to take that first step towards my dream.

Everyone has dreams and a lot of those dreams are acheivable - it just takes commitment.

So C-Day is where I take the first step on the path to fulfililng my dream of becoming a full time author.

Why the 13th? I hear you ask enthusiastically. Well, between now and then I have a little run through a smallish city to attend to - yep, the New York Marathon. The last few weeks have seen zero output on the writing front, mainly because of this huge event. Very hard to focus on day to day writing when I know I will be running 42 clicks through an unknown city in a few days time. Very excited about it though! Can't wait (and I mean it)!

So the 13th, being my first day back at work after New York (New York), is C-Day, where it all begins.

Look out for it, celebrate it, enjoy it - but whatever you do, commit to it!! Hoo Haa!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Keane Inspiration

I was going to moan about "concert etiquette" today.

Jingo and I were at the Alli Palli (being Alexandra Palace in Wood Green, North London) on Thursday night watching Keane. It was their first concert tour since the lead singer, Tom Chaplin, came out of rehab. Incidentally, their last concert before he went into rehab was the V Festival, which we also saw. We could tell the difference. At the V Festival, they were flat and uninspiring. Thursday night, they rocked!

We were at the back of the crowd and numerous people were quite content to ignore the music and have their own little, yet not quiet, conversations. Fair play when the music is up loud on songs like "Everybody's Changing" and "We Might As Well Be Strangers" but not on some of the slower melodies, thank you very much. At that moment, I thought to myself, I'm going to blog this tomorrow and rip them to shreds.

Then the band eased into "A Bad Dream" and I forgot all about the inconsiderate knobs next to me. This song is my favourite from Keane's two albums and I was instantly captivated by it and sang out the chorus at the top of my lungs (albeit it in a scratchy, off key, droning kind of way).

My debut novel, in all of its splendid incompleteness, is always lurking in the back of my mind. As "A Bad Dream" played out before me, a scene suddenly materialised in my mind. It was so vivid and seemed so right, that I will bet someone else's left testicle that it will make it into the book. If it all works out and I am able to successfully transpose my thoughts and feelings to paper, my protagonist (and hopefully the reader) is going to feel the same emotions that I felt when that song was being played.

If I can manage that, consider the CWA for best debut novel mine! How's that for optimism?!

As for the insensitive a-holes lacking "concert etiquette" - if you want to have a chat, pi55 off and go to a f**kin' coffee shop!!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Three Months Later . . .

So, three months ago, I had a plotwave and managed to write a few pages of notes for my very first novel (which, of course, will be an instant hit (trying to create some positive vibes here)). I also decided to document my progress on the internet.

So what has progressed since?

To summarise: not much. (Damn, those vibes didn't last long).

Exhibit A - I've only just started the Blog.
Exhibit B - I haven't progressed any further on from those handful of notes.
Exhibit C - I'm a lazy git.

Well C is a bit harsh. I'm not super lazy; it's more of a commitment issue. I mean, I don't have to write a novel, no one is going to die if I don't, no boss is going to chew me out (an American saying with amusing connotations) - it's not life or death. So when it comes to deciding between getting up at 6.00am every weekday or sleeping in, spending a couple of hours at the computer writing or playing EA Cricket, or any other number of crossroad decisions, ultimately, the Uncommitted Sloth wins out.

But that type of attitude and way of thinking gets nothing done. I should be more positive, more determined - I mean, this has been my ultimate dream / goal in life for a long time: become a full time writer. And the first step towards that goal is writing my first novel. It's worth the effort, worth an attempt, even if the result is not assured. No regrets (Steve Waugh style).

Right, it's settled - I'm going to give this novel writing malarky a red hot go! I'm going to give it my best!

Come on!! (Lleyton style).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Early Morning Plotting Followed By An Unoriginal Idea

About three months ago, in the early hours of a working day morning, I came up with an idea for my very first novel. Actually, the idea had been festering around in my mind ever since I attended the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and George Pelecanos uttered some words of advice to the would-be writers in the audience (me being one of them).

On this morning, however, I gave the idea some weight, gave it a bit of life. A plot started to form while I was in bed, trying to get back to sleep, the pain in my back causing me no end of grief. The plot grew, pulled me out of bed, got me writing some notes. When it was time to get ready for work, I had mapped out at least the first 100 pages or so. I wasn't 100% sure how its going to end, but I was still super excited. This was going to be the best book ever; my first attempt at writing a novel was going to kick ace.

I was suddenly overwhelmed with visions of grandeur - a three book publishing deal; copies of my novel piling up in my room, ready to hand out to family and friends; enough cash and royalties to allow me to give up my day job.

A dream come true.

If all these things come to fruition, what a ride it will be!

Another idea then struck me; wouldn't it be interesting to document this ride, to give people an insight into how a published novelist is formed, how much hard work and heartache goes into it; what the actual process is from idea to published novel. Document the highs and lows if you will.

Of course, I'm not so arrogant to think I know anything about this process (cause I don't) and I'm not so sure of myself to think that anything I write is worth publishing - but, my thinking is that to diarise my process will give me direction and focus, give me something to look back on and learn from, give my friends and family (and anyone else along for the ride) something interesting to read and force me to write at least something on a regular basis.

What a great idea!

After a quick peruse of the internet, I came to the realisation that this was not an original idea. About ten thousand other would be writers, first time writers and successful writers are already doing this blog thing, and no doubt doing it a lot better, wittier and funnier than what I'm capable of.

All I'll probably achieve is to showcase my lack of talent and turn potential readers away in droves.

Actually, I shouldnt worry too much about that; no one's probably reading this blog anyway.

I wonder if I've set the tone a little to . . . um . . . pessimistic?