Random Write 5

I have finally completed editing and uploading my latest book, The Book Trail,  to Amazon. As the books get longer, nearly 90,000 words this time, so the editing takes longer and longer. I keep forgetting to upload the e-book first as that gives you one final spellcheck. As I’m writing in American English and with slang words and terms I usually can just click ‘Ignore’ when spelling errors are thrown up but there is always the possibility I’ve missed something which needs correcting. This time there was one ‘sidewalk’ misspelt as ‘siedwalk’. So annoying! It doesn’t take long to correct and upload the Kindle version but the paperback edition was already ‘In Review’ for its first publication so I have to wait until its live and then upload the corrected version. I also had an error with the e-book cover as I clicked to launch the ‘Cover Creator’ rather than just upload the cover I had on my computer. Annoying but easy to correct. All this and no one will buy it anyway!

I’m about 35,000 words into the next book, another story about PI Bobby Olsen. It’s been slow going as I usually have a change in between his books and write something different. This time I couldn’t think of anything so ploughed on regardless and took Bobby and Carol down to Texas to visit Carol’s parents.  I expect I will keep going and churn out something.

Editing was hard work. I can’t make up my mind about contractions. Bobby is the narrator so it seems logical for words like ‘could’ve’, should’ve’, must’ve’ etc to be used but I can’t convince myself in some sentences, especially with ‘must’ve’. I’ve noticed some authors go all the way while others keep everything very prim and proper with ‘have ‘ in full four letters. This time I’ve erred on the side of contracting as much as possible.

 

Random Write 4

A beautiful sunny but cold day here in south east England. A brisk walk along the seafront to the coffee shop and a good forty-five minutes of writing. The coffee had rather a thin foam today but the wonderful taste made up for it. All the regular guys were in the shop – I use the term ‘guys’ loosely here as it includes two women who are regular early birds –  and wonderfully the one noisy man is on holiday so the conversations were low and not distracting. I find if I ‘log-on’ to something being discussed it’s very hard to re-concentrate on my writing.

So, a couple of hundred new words added to the new story, mostly dialogue as the main theme of the book becomes evident, after just 25,000 words! Oh dear. With three characters in the conversation it was quite tricky to make sense of the talk, I’m sure there’s some editing to be done there a few months down the line. There’s lots of ‘Carol folded her arms’, ‘I put the cup down’ and ‘Alicia coughed’.

A few photos taken on the way home to show the sunny weather and the pier and seafront.

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Random Write 3

Over the weekend I added another few hundred words to the latest book about the New York PI and his sidekick set in 1960. It was a glorious sunny day so the coffee shop soon filled up. I don’t like to overstay my time there if it’s getting crowded. Forty minutes writing is probably enough anyway, and forty minutes sitting down is certainly enough.

Yesterday I managed to fit in an hour’s editing of the previous manuscript. I have nearly reached the end of the second edit and will then print off the story to do the final edit from paper. Then it’s just the simple matter of remembering how to upload a manuscript to Amazon and hope they haven’t changed or added too many ‘features’.

Covers always cause a slight problem. I’m not prepared to pay someone to produce one so have relied on Amazon’s own photographs. A couple of books I gave simple patterned covers to as there were no suitable photos. The last book I managed to find a good photo from Canva dot com. One drawback with Amazon is that if you want to put on a new, different cover after you’ve published another, you have to delete the whole book, reupload and then use your new image. I suppose we can’t complain, it’s all free after all.

Tomorrow, hopefully up to the coffee shop. Weather forecast is cold, bright and dry. A brisk seafront walk, a hot tasty coffee and off we go with semi-defrosted fingers on the keyboard.

Random Write 2

Despite the threat of gale force winds and heavy rain I managed to walk to the coffee shop this morning. Drizzly rain on the way back but can’t complain and I really didn’t want to use the car for such a short journey.

Another few hundred words written, grinding along slowly while editing the last finished manuscript at home. Yesterday I edited most of the afternoon while waiting for a parcel to be delivered. One problem with writing longer novels is that the editing takes so much more time. I thought I’d have it finished by now but I am still only two-thirds through the second edit. I’ll then print the story out and do a final read through and change anything I spot. I find I see things I’ve missed when set out on actual paper, it’s quite surprising what you don’t see on screen.

Dentist early tomorrow morning so no visit to the coffee shop and so probably nothing new to be written. Hopefully back to the shop on Friday if I feel the urge.

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Random Write 1

I’m finding it so hard to find time to write any posts here. As I write my novels, or attempts at novels, daily and I edit the finished manuscripts from previous attempts, it doesn’t leave me much time to or desire to write anything else. So, I will try and put up simple posts detailing what writing I have achieved and any other silly things to do with writing or cats or music or whatever. Nothing earth-shaking or wonderous, no masterpieces of writing, just blah blah blah.

Today, Saturday, I was at the usual coffee shop at 8.35 a.m., coffee ordered and writing begun. It wasn’t my most prolific session, the room filled up quite quickly being the weekend and I’m not yet really into the story I’m presently writing. The group of similar-aged men were in the shop as they always are and I fell into the temptation of listening to their conversation and consequently was writing about one word of my own for twenty of their spoken ones. Because I’m not sure where my story is going right now I’m dragging out each scene, mainly through dialogue, and hopefully through adding more detail for the minor characters. Let’s hope it doesn’t become too slow a read.

While editing my previous story I noticed how often I use ‘his’ and ‘her’ when quite unnecessary. It’s been surprising how many I have deleted. I’ve also used more contractions in the narrative, not just in the speech. The guy who’s narrating speaks quick and casual so I decided the story unravelling inside his head would follow a similar style. It certainly makes the read go fluently.

Tomorrow, Sunday, will be an editing day if I do any writing-related work.

Watched an interesting TV progamme about gardens in the USA last night – it partly answered something I’ve always wondered, why do so many American front gardens comprise only of lawn.

 

 

 

Hung Words Too

(I seem to have posted a piece under the name ‘Hung Words’ before and yet the writing with it is not what I recall as the ‘Hung Words’ piece. Odd. I must have mis-copied with the mouse somehow. Anyhow, here is the writing I remember as ‘Hung Words’, written back in May 2017, edited today. Oh, Happy New Year for 2020!)

Hung Words

My sword thrust forward, point piercing mid-way the word ‘TRUST’ which hung taunting across the path. The ‘u’ mewed, tears seeped onto dry ground parched by years of the antonym. Each drop reformed, reared and roared a date, a time, a lover. The sounds cleaved the outer coating of my shield, stuck darted on layered wood and leather, each forced a back step in the slow stride of my denial.

Slashed right and left, letters tumbled without meaning across the musty air, voices escaped from nicked sides and surfaces, each whispered accusations and Siren symphonies of desire and deceit. Names cascaded across years, places, times, excuses, all timetabled in linear formation, each stabbing through armour to draw my guilt in blood-coughed confessions.

The path steepened, with fog-banked slopes treacherously entreating mis-steps. Five letters swung back and forth, hide and seeking through the gloom, ‘BLAME’ pendulumed with teasing tautness, red flames of embarrassment licked letters. Shield raised to block the blaze of an accusing sun I pressed on, a single-manned phalanx. Heat seared through, burned black my faults. But remember, remember, she did not talk, she did not give time, she did not make the efforts demanded of shared lives. I pierced the ‘B’, shredded the double curves, left ‘lame’ a mocking commentary on my own excuses.

A soft glancing blow fell, a caressing killer rested on my shoulders heavyweighted with weary worries self-inflicted, ‘TOUCH’ featherlight alighted, wrapped around a body shivering to loosen itself from feared intimacy after the bed-bounced closeness of another forbidden love. I parried open-bladed, countered these tease-touching accusations: for she had stepped back too, withdrew skin from contact, lips miss-kissing half-hearted offered cheeks, back turned on a bed once consummated with the passion of the innocent. Who stands now in the glasshouse with stone in hand? My stab caused ‘TOUCH’ to convulse. No one-sided defeat here.

Forward stepped I deflected and bounced harsh truths into the gutters of regret, found my way blocked by ‘SELFISHNESS’, long strewn as a Cheshire cat with grinning teeth foul fetid, dripping tales of familial dates ignored, commitments uncommitted to, evenings long consumed in matey orgies of alcohol and unbrave bravado, late long working hours stretched to incredulity as slipped masks for backslapping heartiness and raucous chauvinism, chasing skirt-clad victims across glass-lined tables.

Hacked letters fell, ‘fish’ causing a rueful smile under cheekguards which chaffed with swivelled wariness. ‘S’s snaked my legs, hot forked tongues nipped infected bites into veins long since dead to empathy and sympathy. I stamped, hobnailing the vicious barbs into powdered pleas.

And lastly LOVE dangled, glossy, shredded and abused. It flickered images thought lost in memories stored behind cold-hearted locks. The true love of first meeting, recognition of soulmated possibilities, tingles of eternity surfacing when touch touched more than skin, eye contact finding depths impossible to measure. LOVE hung, shamed my defence, drunk dry a moat of liquid lies, crumbled paper-thin walls of self deception, undermined a castellated keep of rusted excuses.

And I fell, in a final act of reconciliation and recognition, upon my upturned sword.

 

 

 

 

The last mince pie

(first written a few years ago when I ran a blog under another name, and kinda appropriate for this time of year)

The last mince pie sat in its little box in the cupboard, all alone, with just the crumbs of its former neighbours for company.

On Christmas Day it had sat proudly on the decorated table at coffee time along with a plateful of hopeful companions. Being at the bottom of the carefully arranged pyramid its chances of consummation were perhaps limited but hope sprung eternal. The hour passed. Grasping hands removed brothers and sisters. Disappointment reigned when it and a few others returned despondently to their cardboard home.

Tea-time brought fresh expectations but sadly too much turkey and stuffing had negated the desire for titbits after a round or two of sandwiches. Boxing Day came and went. A journey to the table surrounded by sausage rolls, cheese biscuits and other savoury delights proved equally unsuccessful.

Festivities slowly evaporated and the little mince pie lay pitifully in the darkness of its box. The ‘Best Before’ date came and went. The door opened and closed many times. Foods went and never returned. Still the last mince pie sat in pathetic isolation.

The time of Clear Out arrived. Sighs and regrets accompanied the jettisoning of stale or unwanted edibles. Slipping towards the looming dark interior of the black waste bag, the mince pie accepted its doom and awaited days of decay and breakdown.

Suddenly the careless hand of Fate intervened, and the mince pie fell, spinning, glancing off the outer edge of the plastic chasm. It bounced once, twice, three times across the carpeted floor then came to rest by a large, very large, wicker basket. A shiny wet nose sniffed the air close above the mince pie, sniffed again, lips began to dribble, and in one gulp an eager mouth swallowed it up.

And, dear reader, if you could have looked closely at that very moment, I believe you would have seen an enormous happy smile upon that little pie’s crust.