A decision that my subconscious made without me. Wednesday, Nov 28 2007 

I’ve just started writing chapter one again. It’s all coming out in the present tense, and in a rather staccato manner. I made no conscious decision whatsoever to write in that style, but there it is.

Writing is bizarre, sometimes.

I’m sure she’s used that word at least twice before. Tuesday, Nov 27 2007 

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Cat and Girl. Still made by my favourite living human female creative person. Hopefully none of those adjectives will change soon. Some day I will send her money for Donation Derby.

I’ve divided my book up into three parts.I need to divide it that way because there are two huge shifts that don’t really work with a natural segue. It’ll be a bit like a mini trilogy of novellas. I’ve set my deadline for the first part for the middle of December, because maybe that way I’ll have it finished by November next year. Maybe.

Thinking out loud, updating out loud, being out loud. Saturday, Nov 24 2007 

I was invited to two separate parties but instead I stayed home and watched a documentary on David Bowie.

The problem with brainstorming too much is that my ideas tend to get out of control. I start out with a simple story about a time-travelling computer game programmer. This develops into a 1980s-themed Zombie uprising. And by the end we’re in the dreamlike mindscape of a goth girl who has the power to destroy the human race with her prodigious angst.

I can justify all of these things and there are lots and lots of ideas behind them, and they do develop with reasonable logic from one to the next, I’m just not sure if it’s sane to try to put them all in one novel. My goal is to write a publishable novel. If I indulge my desire to write a weird far-fetched fantasy, I’ll probably regret it. Again. But it’s hard for me to contemplate writing something non-outrageous.

At the moment my brainstorming is producing about one chapter concept a day. I think I’ll have enough to work with in a couple of weeks.

Ambivalence. Friday, Nov 23 2007 

‘Phishing’ is leet-speak for ‘fishing’. My bank’s website warns of ‘phishing’ scams. Ergo, my bank is using leet-speak.

That is equally cool and depressing.

The White Book. Monday, Nov 19 2007 

Brainstorming is my favourite part of the creative process. Ideas are so much more exciting when they’re fresh. My book has been gathering momentum over the last week. I have to keep a book by my bed because I keep thinking of important snippets of dialogue or plot points while I’m trying to sleep. My book is about: time travel, computer games, zombies, the 1980s, memes and impossible romance.

Each of my chapters is going to be names after a song from the 1980s, because that’s where all my favourite music seems to come from. The late 1970s works as well.The chapters have to match the theme, the mood and/or the lyrics of the song. So far I have:

I Ran, A Flock Of Seagulls.
Head Over Heels, Tears For Fears.
Cars, Gary Numan.
Love My Way, The Psychadelic Furs.
Darkness, Human League.

…though nothing is set in stone. I also want to have Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark, The Cure and maybe David Bowie, though the latter seems too… iconic. I’m not sure whether I’m allowed to have two or more songs by the same band. I think I’ll run out of bands if I don’t, unless I discover a bunch of new bands to like. All the bands are British so far, which is fine.

How to trap a transformer. Sunday, Nov 18 2007 

Fuck bollards.

Concise. Saturday, Nov 17 2007 

Before I start writing my book I’m brainstorming other ways to write my book. My approach for Pirate Space was to think of an idea (pirates in a modern city), write a whole bunch of scenes inspired by that idea, think of a storyline which can incorporate these scenes, write some more scenes to complete the storyline and then clean everything up. It needed a lot of cleaning up, since characters kept changing, new material kept being added, chapters switched places and so on. Sort of like building a car by designing the hood ornament and working backwards from there.

What I liked about this approach was that I thought of a whole bunch of ideas I never would have thought of if I’d planned the whole thing through beforehand. It gave it a ‘spontaneous creation’ aspect rather than a ‘premeditated’. What I don’t like is (a) that I effectively wrote the book twice and (b) there’s a lot of inconsistent and superfluous parts that might not have been there if I’d thought everything out beforehand. I can think of at least one chapter and three scenes that can be easily deleted.

So… different approach. I’ll try ‘professional’ rather than ‘whimsical’ this time. I’ll think of how scenes fit into the plot before I write them. I’ll make sure every character has some kind of arc thing. I don’t know.

I’m worried about conciseness, though. It’s impossible for me to tell a short story, but it’s also difficult for me to tell a long story, because I’m just not good at drawing a story out without throwing in a whole bunch of superfluous bits. Maybe I should try to write it as an ‘epic’ story… that should add a good ten pages.

I won’t try too hard though. 80,000 words seems like a fine size for a novel to me. Moby Dick and Catch-22 are the only novels I can remember reading that needed to be as long as they were. Most books could do with being ripped in half. And not just to make them shorter. I read Diana Gabaldon’s Cross Stitch ages ago and still have no idea how she managed to wring so many words out of that concept. There wasn’t exactly profound philosophical depth that needed to be explored.

Somewhat encouraging. Thursday, Nov 15 2007 

“Dear David

Thanks for your submission to Friday Pitch.

Though your writing style is very strong, I wasn’t quite captivated enough by the material you sent to proceed any further.”

I assumed this was going to be one of those instances where my submission vanished into some kind of void. I certainly wasn’t expecting feedback. My writing style is very strong? I like that. I’m happy with that. It’s much better than the ‘void’ option. In fact, I’m going to let the use of the word ‘very’ go to my head.

I was just debating whether or not to bother with a second novel or if I should start my internet serial thing. At least the internet serial would rely on word-of-mouth, so if I worked hard enough I’d be able to get people’s attention that way… novels on the internet (if I chose to just throw it out there in that form) never have the same word-of-mouth thing, which is why I rely on a publisher. But no one earns a living from an internet serial. But novels have a much smaller chance of at least getting noticed. What to do, what to do?

Write another novel with a more ‘captivating’ opening? I’ll get right on it, Captain Publisher. And I can still send Pirate Space to the 12-week-wait English publisher, to see if they have lower expectations for how ‘captivating’ a first chapter should be. Anyway, they read the whole thing, so maybe they’ll have forgotten about the opening by the end.

On Skating. Tuesday, Nov 13 2007 

The only time I’ve ever tried on roller skates was at a school trip to a skating rink. I think there may have been two trips, actually. I wasn’t really inspired to pursue an interest in skating.

Today I tried on roller blades (aka ‘inline skates’) for the first time. I was looking at them in the Warehouse and decided to try them on just because no one had told me I wasn’t allowed to. I managed to move up and down the aisle a couple of dozen times without falling over, which was good. By the end I was actually starting to figure out how to move in them properly, but I really needed more space than a three-metre-long aisle. I like to think it’s one of those things that seem really tricky now but which will become unimaginably easy once I’ve figured it out.

My plan is to skate to and from work, thus emancipating myself from the bussing system. I don’t really have a problem with the busses except the amount of money I spend on them. Alternatively I might get ordinary roller skates because they’re more retro than inline skates, even though the latter were allegedly invented earlier.

I should go to bed. I am in a silly mood. Monday, Nov 12 2007 

Tartan waistcoats. Are thrilling. And quite Scottish, apparently.

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