Andrew Oldham is now over the 25,000 words mark in his novel, The Reformation, a SF love story set in the present and future that reveals how seven hundred years of history is deleted to make room for six billion people from the future. It is a past of ghosts and a future of death in a novel chronicling how one man finds love in an empty world. This is a novel about living rather than just surviving. Andrew would like to thank everyone that has cheered him on and he is already well above the required word count, and has mapped out the remaining parts of the story. Each week he will bring you up to date with his word count and give you a sneak peek at excerpts from the first rough draft (with spelling and grammatical mistakes), and will reveal the process he is going through.
“I’m finding the whole thing very therapeutic. This is my second attempt at a novel, back in the 90s, I won an award for a novel that was never published due to a contract deal falling through. That knocked my confidence and along with some bad advice, the whole process of novel writing became a turn off to me. It has taken me 11 years to build that confidence back up through writing short fiction, poetry and script for TV, Film and stage. Being a script editor has also helped me realise what past mistakes I have done in my own work. By just writing a first draft novel, I am not getting bogged down in editing or worrying too much about plot, these holes can be tied up in a second rewrite. I am getting the bones of the story down, the feel, the pace, the rhythm, the ideas and the characters. I advise anyone to do this, it means you are writing and enjoying the process of writing and soon you find that you are exceeding your initial thoughts and even the initial word count or pages you set yourself to write everyday” – Andrew Oldham.
Excerpt from The Reformation:
‘The seven hundred are more important now then they have ever been’, says my Dad. He gently mops the brow of Maria with a boiled rag, the rag comes away bloody. My Mother is tending to Jacinto who is slumped behind the closed door, he slams his fist against the door and makes us all jump.
‘Bastards,’ he says, ‘Cowards and bastards the lot of them’.
Little Juan who has been crying in the corner for sometime responds with a high pitched wail and calls for Jacinto, Papa, Papa, Papa; Janet struggles to keep him her arms, his tiny fists and face bunched and screwed up, tears tracking down his cheeks. Maria speaks to Jacinto, a fast phrase in Spanish that no else in the room understands but my Dad, he gives nothing away, he keeps his secret. Jacinto nods and beckons for Juan, Janet allows him to break free of her arms and the toddler flies out of her grasp, shocked that he is free, a victorious smile breaks out and is quickly replaced by the memory of why he is crying, he stumbles towards Jacinto, falls the last few steps and is caught by his father, who hugs him fiercely, kissing his face. Juan with his bunched fists, pummels at Jacinto, curls into him and his sobs subside; my Mum waits and then applies iodine to the cut on Jacinto’s face, he flinches, curses, Juan repeats but no one laughs. This is a serious day.
‘They took everything,’ says Maria. My Dad reaches for the iodine bottle that my Mum proffers and laces the rag with a liberal amount before applying to Maria’s forehead. She curses in Spanish, Juan and Jacinto repeat but no laughs.
‘Cowards,’ says Jacinto, ‘Pushed us over, robbed us’.
They have been to the warehouses, the weekly market, the stall that stands outside our tenement block has not been used this summer, we are the only block left for several miles, most of the other blocks are derelict, which make for rich pickings for wood but means that we are under threat from street gangs and thieves. The electric has been switched off, which means all the dead bolts in the building are now disabled. My Dad and Jacinto have barred the main entrance with iron bars that they have jerry rigged to batteries, they have nailed all the ground floor doors closed and have paid special attention to Helen’s old flat, the one in which Mr Close once lived, this has been sealed at both ends, the windows have been barred and so has the door. I have asked Helen why they have done this and we argued because of it, she does not know, she tells me but I know she lies and when I ask my Dad, he lies too. I wonder if something is going on between them, my Dad is still good looking, he is strong and I am tall but thin, weak.