A Year of Writing: Days 31-40

There seems to be a growing interest around what I am achieving with #ayearofwriting and the work I am producing. More people are starting to follow me here, on twitter and on Facebook. If you want daily up dates, go here but you can keep up every 10 days here also.

Day 31 of #ayearofwriting and now the black boot and the black glove rips through my Hurley Park story, the idea of propaganda vs truth, and even truth as propaganda. I remember The Wall by Pink Floyd and how as a thirteen year old at a youth club I drew the fascist symbol of the two hammers on a poster, a youth worker ripped it up stating that such symbols should not exist, he refused to talk about why, and at thirteen I was struck by the fact if we cannot talk about such things, doesn’t it give power to them? For the record I was aware of the fascist element of The Wall, the cult of I that runs through it, how fascism rises when it is never faced or discussed or ignorance gets under our skin and we tear up the posters rather than face the awful truth.


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Day 31 of #ayearofwriting and last night I went to a Phaedra Patrick writers class at the local library. We looked at character and I was chosen as someone to define, everyone looked at me to see what my defining attribute was. It was my beard, which Phaedra described as ‘luxuriant’, well as least I have something to put on my next book. ‘He has a luxuriant beard’ – Phaedra Patrick.

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Day 32 of #ayearofwriting and I have made it through a month. At the Phaedra Patrick class a common complaint from writers was not having the time to write. Some where amazed that I’d done#100daysofwriting but I didn’t see why it should be amazing. If you want to do something, need to do something, you have to be a little selfish. Not beat yourself up that you haven’t spent the entire day writing. Much can be achieved in those moments when you where normally procrastinating. The dishes can wait. So can the hoovering. That bath will still need cleaning in an hour. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you write something.

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Day 33 of #ayearofwriting and I am up against it today as things crash in between my physio and not being around with the family on Saturday due to work commitments. I am trying to stop myself, due to being agitated, going back over my work halfway through a draft. This is often the death knell for me on a story because I start pulling at threads until I literally have the word equivalent to the image with this post. My normal practice nowadays is to make notes as I go, so when I come back to the next draft I can incorporate or ditch, depending on how the rest of the writing of that initial draft went. Every writer is different but for me this stops the constant picking at the work between drafts. The desire to go back and change something, I know that change will alter the story where I am, so I alter the story and make a note to go back and foreshadow but if I go back, I will find something else and then something else and then something…see picture to get the idea.


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Day 34 of #ayearofwriting and this sums up my narrator:

Charlotte dislikes the arty lot who have infected Hurley Park. I can’t stand and watch the values of the community dragged down into their gutter loving level. They live at number four, spend their days invading our community hub, sending filth to tablets and brainwashing the local teenagers to their cause. I have decided to take a stand, this week I am on the rota for the delivery of the recycling, I have taken it upon myself to not collect their bins.*

* Even this has changed as the story progressed.

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Day 35 of #ayearofwriting and many of the short stories I have been working on since#100daysofwriting – seems so long ago now – have winged their way out into the publishing world. It was always the aim to produce more, submit more and hopefully get published more. The problem with novel writing is unless you are on the radar as a novelist, you can fall off the edge of the world whilst writing a novel. It is hard to find time to write a novel but I will do it again this year, and this will be my fifth attempt at writing one but I want to get up steam with some short story writing, have some short stories that help me build the world of the characters in the novel and give me an idea of where my strengths and weaknesses lie. Short stories are good for that and more importantly they are available to a wider market!


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Day 36 of #ayearofwriting and my narrator is hiding something still. I go back over the third draft, break my cardinal sin of going back to edit rather than take notes – it will end badly but some sins are hard to break – I find that he is an unreliable narrator, he is lying to me but I cannot show this immediately. He must simply be the voice of reason, the voice we all use to push aside concerns of climate change. The voice that states, ‘Well, I recycle’, and which declares, ‘I buy ethical food products’ in a kitchen full of unethical electronic products. I sometimes think that the whole system will have to collapse, to rise again, and collapse once more. History shows us that this is what we do. All cultures end. Even the Mayans were wiped out as a culture due to their complacency about food.


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Day 37 of #ayearofwriting and the secret is revealed. Click.

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Day 38 of #ayearofwriting and I never thought this little story in suburbia would give rise to the origins of the fascist group, the water-men, my narrator has actually gone and join them seeing it merely as a civic group to clean up society’s problems. He sits at the breakfast table opening his orientation pack and seems to be delighted that he finds a truncheon to go with the uniform. I find this character to very disturbing, he is the acceptable face of hatred, ignorance and fear. He is the minority opening Pandora’s Box.

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Day 39 of #ayearofwriting and I am in the fourth draft of my suburbia story. I am considering how national pride can be a double edged sword, and how the idea of what is British is quintessentially propaganda.

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Day 40 of #ayearofwriting and I am move from the fourth draft to the fifth. I am concerned at how easy this story has been, I am have always been wary of things that come easy but one of my most popular poems came in a single draft, it was called Costa Coffee Girl, and I wrote what I saw. It has been published more times than I can count. This time it feels the same, it is that moment when something clicks and this time it did click, rather than clunked.

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